Sunday, June 8, 2008

Cigarettes, and something that seems to work

At first, I thought I was just the first one to visit the Quickie on Bank and Gilmour that day: covering the cigarette stand there was a piece of hard plastic. (As my previous post attests, sometimes I get up pretty early in the morning, for no apparent reason).

Then, on Friday night, a group of us happened to be in another local convenience store -- this one just a block way, at Bank and Maclaren. If you know the area and enjoy fries, cheese curds and gravy, you'll know the place.

This time it was sheets of pale orange cotton material that adorned the area behind the cash. We all know what sits there, we all know that they lead to lung cancer and are a scourge on our public health system, and yet many of us still enjoy a cigarette or twenty now and again.

And here it was that I realized the coverings were not because the Quickie was actually slow to fully open up (isn't it a 24-hour joint anyway? and why would they cover the cigarette racks overnight? perhaps dawn isn't my best time after all...). No, it was because, as of May 31, retail stores in Ontario and Quebec aren't allowed to display cigarrettes.

Especially since I'm a journalist, I felt pretty out of the loop. The only excuse I can provide here is that, at the time, I was preoccupied with the healthy endeavor of running a half-marathon. But I happened to be one of those 'runners who smoke;' not often, but occasionally, after a big meal and with a glass of wine, I'll enjoy a drag of a cigarette.

In any case, the rule is out. Apparently cig stands were known as 'power walls,' and were one of the last remaining areas for tobacco companies to push their product.

And, apparently, the crumbling of these walls are having the intended effect. While the studies haven't come out yet, people are talking.

About alcohol-induced purchases, the painful process of trying to quit, the situation of the 'social smoker,' and starting a rally at Giant Tiger.

Yes, Your All Canadian Family Discount Store also sells tobacco products, but when a friend attempted to inquire about the price of her favourite brand, the cashier timidly responded that she was not allowed to divulge this information. Promotion? I guess so. Soon the people behind her in line were up in arms, complaining about the ban.

And while she may have gathered momentum for the opposition, she didn't buy cigarettes.


Dayanti Karunaratne said...

I had no idea ....
that New Yorkers are so up in arms about their new ban on trans fats.

Did anyone dare speak out against it here?
What does this say about the differences in our regard for consumer liberties?

speedy123 said...

Hey D ... I'm no libertarian, but it seems that the government should not be in the business of legislating common sense. Banning trans fat in NY is equally stupid. It will cost some retailers $2,500 to accommodate the new no display law not to mention the cost of enforcement. At what point do people need to take responsibility for their own health?

speedy123 said...

BTW, Speedy123 is me, David Lichtenstein