Cigar retailers want exemptions from packaging rules
The owner of a Regina cigar shop says federal plain packaging rules threaten his business.
“It would affect my business immensely. I’d be basically shut down,” said Jeff Arrowsmith, owner of Jade Smoker’s Corner, an 18 and up store specializing in expensive import cigars and tobacco products.
A new law allowing Health Canada to regulate what tobacco product packaging looks like was given royal assent back in May. This would include packaging on all cigarettes and cigars.
The usually colourful, detailed bands found on expensive cigars are to be replaced with neutral, off-green bands across the board.
“Most of the (import) companies will not produce the new packaging. It’ll just cost them too much money,” said Arrowsmith.
As part of the group Premium Cigar Retailers of Canada, Arrowsmith said they want premium cigars to be exempt from plain packaging, following suit with exemptions in other countries who have introduced plain packaging.
“The United Kingdom, France and Belgium all went through plain packaging, but they exempted pipe tobacco and cigars. We’re asking for the same,” said Arrowsmith, adding that retailers like himself have been campaigning to the federal government.
The Canadian Cancer Society, on the other hand, is happy to see the plain packaging blanket all tobacco products.
“We want to see plain packaging cover all tobacco products so that no one finds any loopholes,” said Donna Pasiechnik, manager of tobacco control, media and government relations for the Canadian Cancer Society in Saskatchewan.
“If they believe they’ll have to close down because of this, so be it.”
The Canadian Cancer Society expects plain packaging to hit store shelves some time in 2019.