The Selinger government plans to make it more difficult for smokers to buy their tobacco.

The NDP tabled a bill in the legislature Tuesday that would prohibit tobacco sales in stores that contain pharmacies, including drugstores and large retail outlets such as Safeway and Superstore.

Bill 17 would also prohibit tobacco sales in health care facilities and through vending machines.

“What we’re trying to do is promote health,” said Healthy Living Minister Jim Rondeau. “We look at pharmacies as an institution that provides wellness and health and supports individuals. And smoking does not really equate into that picture.”

He said research has also shown making it more difficult to buy tobacco products helps reduce the number of smokers and helps prevent youth from adopting the habit in the first place.

In 2004, Manitoba became the first province to introduce an indoor smoking ban. It also passed legislation to remove tobacco from display on store shelves. The province’s tobacco taxes are now the second highest in the country.

However, until now, it had not sought to ban the sale of tobacco in pharmacies, as Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta have done.

Murray Gibson, executive director of the Manitoba Tobacco Reduction Alliance, called the proposed legislation “a very positive move.” He said MANTRA has been advocating the measure since 2004.

“Government has the right and ability to mandate this. So we’re pleased that they’re doing that,” he said.

Rondeau said the new law will affect some 106 retail outlets, mainly large chain stores.

He said the province will give them plenty of time to prepare for the change. He said very likely the new law will take effect on May 31, 2013 to coincide with World No Tobacco Day.

Rondeau said there are only 17 vending machines remaining in Manitoba that sell cigarettes. The government’s concern with the machines is they’re tough to supervise and regulate. “Nobody is watching who is buying cigarettes (from a machine),” the cabinet minister said.

John Graham, a Winnipeg spokesman for Canada Safeway, said the grocery chain is not surprised by the proposed legislation.

“In principle, Safeway supports government initiatives that reduce tobacco use and ultimately prevents citizens from taking up this activity,” he said.

Graham said the chain has continued to sell tobacco in its stores as a convenience to smoking customers.

Roger Tam, a Winnipeg pharmacist with Walmart, said his company has never sold tobacco products in stores that contain pharmacies. And it has not sold tobacco in Canadian stores at all since its move north of the border in 1994.

Singaporeans buying cigarettes and alcohol will have to show id if they look under 40

Deerfield brand cigarettes

Those wanting to buy cigarettes and alcohol at 7 Eleven will now have to produce ID to prove that they are older than 18 all the way up until they are about 40.

The trial was stated last week and it requires shop staff at 7 Eleven stores owned by Dairy Farm Singapore (who owns over 530 stores island wide) to ask for ID and record the birth dates of customers in the computer system when people who look like they might be under 40 buy cigarettes or alcohol.

Previously, the stores would only ask to see ID if you looked like you were under 18. The change is made in an attempt to stop minors from getting access to cigarettes and alcohol.

However, 7 Eleven stores in petrol stations will not be participating in the trial.

While the change will help to reduce the number of minors buying alcohol and cigarettes, the move has been criticised by some netizens as too extreme.

In some other countries, similar rules are in place to prevent youths who may look older than they are from buying restricted substances but usually, the standard is set much lower.

For example, in Australia, the legal age to buy cigarettes and alcohol is 18. However, store operators are required to ask for ID if a customer looks like they might be under 25.

This is recognises the fact that many people do look older than they are but does not severely impact on those who are well and truly of age.

Some have pointed out that requiring customers who look under 40 to produce ID will mean that more than half the customers buying cigarettes and alcohol will be inconvenienced by the extra requirement.

The other issue was that the birth dates of customers being recorded in the computer system seemed unnecessary and an invasion of privacy.

Do you think the new rule is a bit excessive?