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Published:June 11th, 2008 16:00 EST
Canadian Government Mandates That Stores Keep Cigarettes Out Of View

Canadian Government Mandates That Stores Keep Cigarettes Out Of View

By Robert Paul Reyes

"You can browse the latest porn magazines at Canadian shops, but tough new laws mean that cigarette packages are simply too suggestive.

Shop owners in Ontario, Quebec and a few other provinces must now hide tobacco products from their customers under rules that will cover most of Canada by year-end as the country tries to stamp out smoking by young people.

The provincial governments want to discourage the habit by `de-normalizing` the presence of cigarettes, which typically enjoyed prime placement behind the cash register.

Retailers must store cigarettes in drawers or behind gray wall coverings that cost as much as $980, leaving some fuming over the cost, inconvenience, and hypocrisy."

Quotation from Reuters

I wish smoking was banned from all public places, but the approach of the Canadian government is heavy-handed and doomed to fail.

If you hide something from your children, they will not rest until they discover its hiding place. The act of hiding an object confers upon it an air of mystery and desirability. If retailers store cigarettes in drawers where they can`t be seen, it will only increase the desire of teenyboppers to experiment with cancer sticks. Kids know that parents and adults hide all the good stuff from them: Porno videos, dope stash, prescription drugs... If smokes are kept hidden, they must be good!

The solution to stamp out underage smoking is not to conceal tobacco products, but to strictly enforce laws that prohibit minors from buying them.

A responsible government will produce and broadcast public service announcements that warn of the dangers of smoking, but when a government mandates that retailers keep cigarettes out of view, that`s crossing the line. Let`s not go down that slippery slope from a nanny government to a totalitarian state.