A Kentville store in contravention of the province’s rules on tobacco displays won a provincial court challenge yesterday.

Maders Tobacco Shop, owned by Bob Gee, was charged in 2009 with failing to comply with provincial legislation that requires all tobacco products to be hidden from patrons’ view under the Tobacco Access Act.

Gee successfully challenged the charge, citing his freedom of expression and his ability to communicate with his customers.

Acting Health Promotion and Protection Minister Graham Steele downplayed the verdict at a press conference yesterday.

“This was the first part of a two-part constitutional challenge, so it is not the case to say the charge didn’t stand up,” he said.

“What we do now is we simply move on to the second part.”

Steele said he wasn’t surprised by the verdict, saying that the law was intended to limit expression. He also stood by the legislation.

“We believe the law is a good law,” he said.

“After today’s decision the law continues in force, and will continue to be enforced across the province.”

While no information on the causal relationship between seeing cigarette packs and starting to smoke is currently available, Steele remained confident the legislation is effective.