GREENWOOD — A Kingston woman wants drug and tobacco paraphernalia banned from public display.
Julie Simard has started an online petition and is lobbying through social media to ban retail store displays of several products, including flavoured rolling papers, smoking pipes, water bongs, roach clips, plastic drug storage containers, grinders, bud busters, vaporizers and digital weighing scales.
Although sold as tobacco products, many of the items are commonly used in the illegal drug trade and display pictures of illicit drugs, said Simard, a member of the Annapolis Valley Fighting Addictions group that first drew widespread attention to prescription drug abuse in the province.
Simard is a former alcoholic and a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. She has been sober for 12 years.
She was instrumental in banning smoking from bingo events at her local arena and recognized for her involvement in the creation of the province’s Smoke-free Places Act, adopted in 2005.
Simard believes drug and tobacco paraphernalia should not be on public display for children and teenagers to see. She wants the products hidden from view, like other retail tobacco product displays.
She said she doesn’t object to adults buying the items.
“I truly value local business, but not at the expense of our children.”
Her efforts have gotten her banned from Greenwood Mall. Simard said similar products are displayed in other retail outlets for shoppers of any age to see.
Simard’s petition is also asking shoppers to boycott stores displaying the products.
Marijuana advocates say the use of medical marijuana is legal in Canada and the government categorizes many of the products, including pipes, water bongs, vaporizers and rolling papers, as medical devices.
Some are classed as tax exempt and eligible for provincial health insurance coverage.
“We are very confident that the Department of Health and Wellness will employ due diligence and will act accordingly to ensure that the vendor’s product is in compliance with the Tobacco Access Act legislation,” said Krista McMullin, president of Smoke-Free Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia’s Tobacco Access Act already bans public displays of many of the items Simard is concerned about, said Health and Wellness Department spokeswoman Michelle Lucas.
Rolling papers, pipes, cigarette tubes, filters, cigarette makers and holders are all considered tobacco products and banned from public display.
“Protecting our youth from drug harm is something that we must all work actively on together,” Lucas said in an email. “It takes everyone from parents, schools and health groups to promote youth health and well-being.”
She said the province’s mental health and addictions strategy is also working to help reduce drug and other addictions in Nova Scotia.
AUGUST 26, 2013
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