Smoker ID kits out

NNSL (NOV 27/96) - Operation ID, a cross-Canada initiative to ensure tobacco is sold only to smokers over 18 has hit the streets.

If just saying no is difficult with altered ID cards and young customers looking older than they are, this kit should help.

The Canadian Coalition for Responsible Tobacco Retailing, a group of tobacco manufacturers, vendors and distributors is sending 30,000 kits in an attempt to implement a zero-tolerance approach to under-age smokers.

The kits include a training guide, counter cards, posters and law-reminder tear sheets, to be handed to underage customers explaining why they can't buy tobacco.

In the Northwest Territories, the legal age to buy cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco, even cigarette papers, tubes or filters, is 18 and store owners can be penalized up to $50,000 if they don't comply with the law.

Adults buying tobacco for underage customers should be refused because store owners can be charged as well.

Coalition chairman Peter Flach is concerned with many part-time employees and high staff turnover at tobacco outlets. This kit is designed to ensure every employee understands the law.

Despite past efforts to curb the problem, a recent federal survey and studies across the country have found that minors are still able to purchase tobacco with little difficulty.

The Canadian Tobacco Manufacturer's Council provided the entire $1-million cost of the kit project.

If store owners require kits or more information they can call 1-800-305-9880.