40 days simply not long enough to clear wholesale and retail product
HALIFAX – [April 22, 2015]: The timing of plans by the Government of Nova Scotia to ban most flavoured tobacco products starting May 31st is unreasonable say convenience store retailers.
“I have flavoured tobacco inventory that will take at least six months to clear,” says Tony Diab, a Dartmouth convenience store owner. “That’s the way the business works. The government wants to start its ban in 40 days. That’s going to cost me money if I can’t sell banned inventory that I own.”
Mike Hammoud, president of the Atlantic Convenience Stores Association, says that the wholesale and retail channel for flavoured tobacco is complex and it’s not easy to clear that channel.
“The flavoured tobacco segment isn’t geared to fast turnover and many of these products are imported,” says Hammoud. “Wholesalers and retailers have to deal with longer lead times for inventory-on-hand as well as purchase commitments that have been made and can’t be cancelled. Is the provincial government going to reimburse the industry if we’re stuck with banned inventory on May 31st through no fault of ours?”
The provincial government gave electronic cigarette retailers six months to hide retail displays when Bill 60 was passed in the fall to restrict the sale of e-cigarettes to adults. Tobacco retailers were also given six months to hide displays when similar regulatory changes were made in 2006.
A European Union plan to ban flavoured tobacco products would have a 6-year phase-out period, while a possible ban on flavoured tobacco products in Ontario would have a 2-year phase-out period.
“Wholesalers and retailers of flavoured tobacco products in Nova Scotia think that a 2-year phase-out period is reasonable to clear the channel of all product and allow businesses affected by the ban to adjust their operations,” says Hammoud. “Maybe the government isn’t aware of this, but industry jobs will be lost and some businesses will be hard hit financially by this ban.”