TORONTO – Toronto convenience stores have the highest offence rate of selling tobacco products to minors according to a new study.
The study conducted by Ipsos Reid, and paid for by Canada’s National Brewers, found of the 190 Ontario convenience stores surveyed one in five, or 21 per cent, did not ask for valid identification.
Toronto was the worst offender where 56 per cent of the 44 stores visited allowed minors to purchase tobacco without asking for valid identification.
The poll used a shopping test sending 17-year-old students, accompanied by an adult who waited outside, into independent and convenience store chains across Ontario.
According to the study, 22 per cent of independent retailers did not ask for identification and sold tobacco to minors, compared to 18 per cent of convenient chains who did.
Currently, there’s a fight in Ontario over selling beer in convenience stores and the poll could be seen as a way to paint shop owners in a negative light.
The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA), dismissed the report from “the foreign owners of The Beer Store.”
In a statement the OCSA called into question The Beer Store’s ability to check for age saying “curiously, the report compiled for the privately-owned monopoly included no independent testing of The Beer Store itself.”
The Smoke Free Ontario Act is Provincial legislation and makes it illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 19. Enforcing the legislation is left to public health units to enforce.
WATCH: Convenience stores want province to crack down on sale of illegal tobacco (Mar 6)
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