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Enforcement blitz to limit illegally sold tobacco, vape products to youths launched

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The health unit in Simcoe Muskoka is taking steps to limit access to illegal tobacco and vapour products sold to youths.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) is launching an eight-week education and enforcement blitz the week of Jan. 30 in collaboration with public health units across central eastern Ontario.

In Ontario, public health officers have the authority to inspect premises to ensure tobacco and vapour product retailers follow advertising regulations, have proper signage and don't allow youth to purchase tobacco or vapour products.

"Non-compliance with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act among some tobacco and vapour product retailers is an ongoing concern," stated Tony Makrostergios, manager of enforcement with SMDHU.

The health unit says in the last half of 2022, its enforcement officers were involved in 250 investigations related to the illegal sale of tobacco and vapour products by retailers and another 90 in response to the unlawful use of vapour products by youth at secondary schools during the fall school term.

"Our goal is to protect youth and achieve retailer compliance by eliminating the sale of vapour and commercial tobacco products to youth, including the sale of illegal products and flavoured vape e-juices at locations in Simcoe Muskoka," added Makrostergios.

If retailers are found to be non-compliant, enforcement measures may be taken by the health unit.

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