'Porn won't kill you' -Toronto -
You can browse the latest porn magazines at Canadian shops but tough new laws mean that cigarette packages are simply too suggestive.
Shop owners in Ontario, Quebec and a few other provinces must now hide tobacco products from their customers under rules that will cover most of Canada by year-end, as the country tries to stamp out smoking by young people.
The provincial governments want to discourage the habit by "de-normalising" the presence of cigarettes, which typically enjoyed prime placement behind the cash register.
Retailers must store cigarettes in drawers or behind grey wall coverings that cost as much as C$1 000, leaving some fuming over the cost, inconvenience and hypocrisy.
"It's a pain in the arse, and a double-standard that the government supports liquor sales," said a Toronto shop owner who did not want to be named but who noted children too young to buy pornography were still free to eye the plastic-covered magazines, which were only partly hidden by their shelving.
The law has its critics, including those who point accusingly at Ontario's provincially owned liquor stores. But advocates say the seemingly draconian measure would eventually work and was too important to get bogged down by morality.
'Tobacco kills one in two users'
"Pornography, with all its faults and deficits, won't kill you," said Michael Perley, director of the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco, an anti-smoking lobby group. "Tobacco industry products kill one in two of their long-term users."
Perley's group, backed by national cancer and medical associations, complains that the cigarette industry paid retailers to display their colourful products in prominent positions in retail stores.
Canadian retailers complain the law will confuse customers and sellers, and stifle sales of their top product.
Blackened lungs and rotten teeth
But the provinces, which are responsible for managing Canada's publicly funded healthcare system, say they are trying to curb the country's number one cause of early death: cancer.
Canada's explicit health warnings on tobacco products, including graphic images of blackened lungs and rotten teeth, are already considered among the world's most direct.