P.E.I. is planning to toughen the rules for retailers who repeatedly get caught selling cigarettes to minors.The change was prompted by a near record number of stores nabbed during recent compliance checks. Forty-two retailers received a warning, and four more were fined.
The Health Department has been criticized in the past by the Canadian Cancer Society for being too lenient. Retailers only get a warning the first time if they're caught, and a $250 fine if they're caught again. The slate is wiped clean for everyone every three months.
Joe Bradley, manager of environmental health for the province, told CBC News Wednesday the latest results show there's a need to get tougher with repeat offenders.
"We're disappointed. There's no question the compliance on this particular round is probably 80 per cent or a little below 80 per cent, and that's the lowest that we've seen in some time," said Bradley.
"A retailer that has been issued a fine probably would be considered high risk in the future. We're still working on this and we hope to have it finalized within the next couple of weeks or so."
Bradley said retailers will be notified about the changes. He expects new legislation to be in place by Jan. 1.