Out of sight, out of mind?

Justin Dickie
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Tobacco retailers taking issue with anti-smoking legislation

AMHERST - Convenience store owners here aren't convinced hiding cigarettes will make people stop smoking them.

Out of sight, out of mind?

AMHERST - Convenience store owners here aren't convinced hiding cigarettes will make people stop smoking them.

"I think it's stupid. If someone wants to buy cigarettes, they're going to buy them whether they can see them or not," said Linda Baxter, a clerk at BJ's One Stop. "I don't think it's going to work. It's foolishness."

Phil Ripley and Ron White, owners of K & D Rite Stop and Top O' The Hill Variety, respectively, shared a similar sentiment in regards to the province's new legislation coming into effect today making it mandatory for all tobacco retailers to keep the product out of sight.

"It's the out of sight, out of mind theory. I take the cigarettes away so nobody will ask for them," Ripley said of the province's objective behind the legislation. "There will always be smoking. We could put cigarettes up to $20 a pack plus tax and there'd still be people come through that door for them."

A new counter for Ripley's tobacco cost him $3000. BJ's was not in a position to comply with the rules by today, according to Baxter.

Also the owner of the Elm Tree Tavern, White's still stinging from province's ruling to ban smoking from bars after spending $22,000 on a smoking room just 18 months prior.

And most recently he had to spend another $1000 on a shelving system to hide the tobacco in his store.

And besides that, he doesn't think it'll accomplish what it's supposed to.

"Go by the high school and if you think kids are going to stop smoking, you've got a another thing coming. If (the government) wants to do something about it, why don't they go charge those kids under 19 that are smoking? Why don't they enforce what they're trying to preach?" White said. "This is (expletive) terrible. I'm upset about it. There's nothing you can do about it. We are not living in a free society anymore here."

jdickie@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Phil Ripley and Ron White

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