New legislation will prohibit cigarettes from being advertised and displayed prominently behind store counters. Health Promotion and Protection Minister Barry Barnet introduced point-of-sale legislation, today, Oct. 31, which will discourage Nova Scotians, particularly children and youth, from tobacco use. In addition, exterior signage will also be eliminated. Only government authorized signage will be permitted at the point-of-sale. “A true tobacco free culture is more than just a reduction of use,” said Mr. Barnet. “It is the absence of enticements to start. A normal visit to a convenience store should not provide tobacco companies with free access to our children and youth. The power walls that exist behind most store counters represent the last venue for tobacco advertisers. Effective March 2007, we will pull the plug on these power walls.” Power walls, or point-of-sale advertising, are large, visually appealing displays, located in most gas stations and local stores. Research has indicated these displays are particularly appealing to children and young adults. The legislation will force store owners to conceal cigarettes, and any other tobacco product. The removal of power walls will further restrict the advertising reach of tobacco companies. “Once again Nova Scotia is leading the way in the areas of health promotion and protection,” continued Mr. Barnet. “This legislation is both aggressive and progressive. I believe we will continue to see sharp declines in our smoking rates as a result.” The legislation will take effect March 2007 and will expand the list of establishments that are prohibited from selling tobacco to include recreational facilities where the primary activity is physical recreation. Facilities such as bowling alleys, fitness centres, gymnasiums, pools and rinks, libraries, community colleges and universities, community centres and halls, among others, will be prohibited from selling tobacco products. The only exception to the point-of-sale legislation will be for a tobacconist shop where one hundred per cent of their revenue is generated through tobacco products and accessories. These shops will be permitted to advertise provided that no customers are under the age of 19 and the advertising is not visible from the outside of the store. The province’s tobacco control strategy was introduced in 2001. Since then tobacco use and smoking rates in Nova Scotia have steadily declined. The success of the strategy is due, in large part, to the support and commitment of stakeholders, health professionals and community groups across the province. Point-of-sale legislation is an important addition to the province’s existing tobacco legislation which also includes the Smoke Free Places Act and the Tobacco Access Act.