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HomeNewsHealth unit cracking down on youth access to illegal tobacco, vapour products

Health unit cracking down on youth access to illegal tobacco, vapour products

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) is launching an eight-week tobacco and vapour product retailer education and enforcement campaign.

It starts on Monday, Jan. 30.

“Non-compliance with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act among some tobacco and vapour product retailers is an ongoing concern,” says Tony Makrostergios, manager of enforcement with SMDHU. “In the second half of 2022, our enforcement officers were involved with 250 investigations related to the illegal sale of tobacco and vapour products by retailers in Simcoe Muskoka and an additional 90 investigations in response to the illegal use of vapour products by youth at area secondary schools during the fall school term. Our goal is to protect youth and achieve retailer compliance by eliminating the sale of vapour and commercial tobacco products to youth, including the sale of illegal products and flavoured vape e-juices at locations in Simcoe Muskoka.”

According to the health unit, public health tobacco enforcement officers are given the authority by the province to enforce the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. They explain it allows them to inspect sites to make sure the proper advertising and signage rules are being followed as well as ensuring that youth aren’t able to buy tobacco or vapour products.

SMDHU’s tobacco enforcement officers will be making sure staff are trained on the legal age for the sale of vapour and tobacco products, making sure retailers aren’t selling illegally flavoured or improperly packaged products, and ensuring retailers are in compliance with indoor and outdoor advertising rules. 

If any retailer is not in compliance, the health unit “may proceed with enforcement measures.” 

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