Alberta tobacco reduction strategy is working..

June 28, 2008 - Figures released by Alberta Finance show sales of tobacco products dropped by 3% in the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2008, compared to the year earlier. Despite the drop in sales, government still collected about $70 million more in revenue from tobacco, compared with 2006-07, because of the tax increase. Alberta's 2007 budget, delivered on April 19, 2007 announced a 16% increase (about 63 cents per pack). ”It’s the first drop in consumption in five years in Alberta,” said Les Hagen of Action on Smoking and Health, an anti-tobacco lobby group. “It means we've turned an important corner in tobacco reduction.” A province-wide smoking ban in all public places and workplaces took effect January 1, 2008. The Tobacco Reduction Act also prohibits smoking within five meters of a doorway, window or air intake of a public place or workplace. On July 1, 2008 Alberta will ban the display of cigarettes for sale in stores. The "power wall" once ubiquitous to convenience stores across the country must be removed, and all cigarettes either hidden behind a curtain or placed under the counter. Retailers can write the price and brands on a tiny notice, in black and white letters no more than 18 mm high -- italics and underlining not allowed -- and the customer chooses from the list.

The fine in Alberta for non-compliance ranges from $1,000 to $100,000. Other Canadian provinces are eliminating the display of tobacco signs and tobacco products in retail outlets. The final step in the province's tobacco reduction strategy will take effect at the end of the year. It will ban the sale of tobacco in pharmacies, health care facilities and post-secondary institutions. References: Increased taxes drive down Alberta’s tobacco sales, Tobacco Reporter, 6/25/2008; Alberta tobacco reduction strategy working: anti-smoking groups;, 6/27/2008; Power wall displays of tobacco in Alberta going up in smoke by Michael Platt, Calgary Sun,6/10/2008. At least one municipality in Alberta is considering a ban smoking in cars when kids are present. In September 2007 Imperial Canada Tobacco, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco began a test market of SNUS in the city of Edmonton, Alberta, using its leading cigarette brand du Maurier. (