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Offline antismoke

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To πρόστιμο συνετίζει
« on: 01 Aug, 2007, 23:41:14 »
Hundreds of charges laid under no-smoking law

Most businesses obey new rules
By Paul Forsyth

Aug 01, 2007

Large Medium Small Print This Article Tell a friend THOROLD -- More than 500 charges have been laid in Niagara against everything from bars and restaurants to variety stores and individuals found to be breaching the Smoke Free Ontario Act since the legislation came into effect just over a year ago.
Under the legislation, it's illegal to sell tobacco products to minors and it's illegal to smoke in any public place, with the exception of certain types of outdoor patios at bars and restaurants.

A report to Niagara Region politicians recently said that while the majority of stores selling tobacco, along with most restaurants and bars, are obeying the strict new rules, some people are still ignoring the tobacco rules in some establishments and public places.

Of the roughly 600 retailers that sell cigarettes in Niagara, including variety stores, gas stations and grocery stores, 237 received warnings from tobacco control officers working for the region -- meaning a first offence -- while 47 charges were laid for selling tobacco to minors.

The region uses an underage "test shopper" to go into the stores and gas stations to try to buy tobacco. Over the last year, every retailer selling tobacco products was visited four times.

If a retailer receives two convictions for selling tobacco to minors within a five-year period, the region can ask the province's health ministry to prohibit the store or gas station from selling tobacco for a six-month period.

Linda Rix, manager of tobacco control in the region's chronic disease and injury prevention division, said the goal isn't to punish retailers. Instead, tobacco officers work with the retailers to ensure staff receive the right training, and that there are signs stating it's illegal to sell to minors.

"We want to help them," said Rix. "We don't want to penalize them. The bottom line is, we don't want cigarettes sold to kids."

Statistics show that if someone doesn't start to smoke in their teens, they are unlikely to pick up the habit as adults.

In addition to retailers, charges were laid against people lighting up in public places and to businesses themselves that allowed people to smoke. There have been 62 convictions so far. Fines for convictions are roughly $250 for someone caught smoking in a public place, or about $300 for the owner of a business who lets someone smoke.

Convictions were registered against people smoking at places such as hospitals, the Pen Centre, in a parking garage, taxis, auto service shops, bars, restaurants and a strip club.

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