Not too hard for minors to get smokes, study finds

One in three tobacco retailers in Nova Scotia will sell smokes to minors, according to a report released Thursday.

One in three tobacco retailers in Nova Scotia will sell smokes to minors, according to a report released Thursday.

The Canadian Cancer Society study found more than 34 per cent of tobacco retailers in Nova Scotia were willing to sell butts illegally when approached by a 17-year-old test purchaser.

For younger test purchasers, the figures are more encouraging — 90 per cent of retailers refused to sell tobacco products to 15- and 16-year-olds, according to the survey. When all three age categories are combined, 80 per cent of retailers refused to sell to minors.

But Canadian Cancer Society spokeswoman Meg McCallum said the overall rate may be deceiving.

“If you look at the overall rate, it looks quite encouraging,” she said. “But when you look at the rate for the 17-year olds ... (Nova Scotia) is the worst in the country.”

Jamie, a student at Citadel High School who wouldn’t give his last name Thursday, said he knows a corner store owner that sells him smokes, despite knowing he’s a minor. He said it’s just as easy to buy cigarettes as alcohol — sometimes easier.

“A lot of stores won’t sell them to you, but a couple will ... I wouldn’t say that it’s hard,” he said.

 
 
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