Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Province restricts tobacco retailers

  • Print

WITH new anti-tobacco legislation set to kick in, Manitoba takes another step closer to butting out.

That's the hope for those wishing the smoke would clear.

The province's Non-Smokers Health Protection Amendment Act prohibits the sale of tobacco or tobacco-related products (such as rolling papers, cigarette tubes, cigarette filters, cigarette makers or pipes) in a health-care facility or a pharmacy. Those new restrictions come into effect today, the World Health Organization's World No Tobacco Day.

Big-box stores and large grocery chains that house pharmacies are not exempt from the legislation, meaning it will be that less convenient for smokers to feed tobacco addictions through a routine stop for groceries.

"It's something we wanted to see not only with regards to pharmacies but also the total number of points of access to tobacco," said Murray Gibson, executive director of the Manitoba Tobacco Reduction Alliance (MANTRA), an organization dedicated to reducing tobacco use in the province.

But Gibson warns of a potential loophole in the coming pharmacy ban. He points out the larger chain stores are still able to sell tobacco products provided they have a pharmacy that's separated from the remainder of the store, so customers cannot directly access the area where tobacco is being sold.

Despite the potential smokescreen, Gibson still labels the legislation a "good start" and says the province is continuing its positive steps toward tougher tobacco retail rules.

According to MANTRA, Manitoba has approximately 1,800 outlets licensed to sell tobacco products.

Any decrease in access is certainly good news for Steve Rayner. The 38-year-old Winnipeg resident has been trying to quit for 10 months, with limited success. He goes without a drag for a week, only to find a cigarette in his mouth for a couple of days after that, and then starts the cycle again. Having fewer options to buy cigarettes won't get him to stop completely, he notes, but it will help change a pattern of purchasing.

"The inconvenience probably means I'll go longer without one," Rayner said. "I'm not one to go out of my way to buy cigarettes."

Rayner figures the legislation, coupled with the increasing price point of cigarettes, will help him quit, but he doesn't foresee it being the be-all-end-all in his quest.

"Not being able to smoke inside, not being able to smoke in parks or at the beach, now limiting where people can buy them -- every little inconvenience helps," he said.

Manitoba became the first province to introduce an indoor smoking ban in 2004 and is scheduled to ban smoking at all public beaches and children's playgrounds located in provincial parks next summer.

The new legislation also pulls the plug on cigarette vending machines. Today is the last day tobacco products can be sold by simply dropping loonies and toonies into a machine.

The arrival of the pharmacy ban comes after the province raised the tobacco tax four cents to 29 cents per cigarette (a $1 increase per pack of 25) last month. Manitoba now boasts the highest price for a carton of 200 smokes in Canada ($128).

The Manitoba Lung Association says the smoking rate in the province is at 18 per cent and has been dropping annually.

"People want to quit, we know that, and it's encouraging," Gibson added. "All of these measures combined are giving people more reason to think about doing that now."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 31, 2013 A7

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Jets hope to give fans a good show for first home playoff game in 19 years

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A goose flys defensively to protect their young Wednesday near Kenaston Blvd and Waverley -See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 16 - May 23, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Bright sunflowers lift their heads toward the south east skies in a  large sunflower field on Hwy 206 and #1 Thursday Standup photo. July 31,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)

View More Gallery Photos


Do you agree with the sale of the Canadian Wheat Board to foreign companies?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google