In April, 2007 tobacco inspectors will visit as many vendors as possible to answer questions about tobacco-product storage and display. In May and June, verbal warnings will be issued if tobacco is not stored as required by the new regulations. A three-month transition period will help vendors comply with new legislation to prohibit cigarettes from being advertised and displayed prominently behind store counters. Health Promotion and Protection Minster Barry Barnet said that amendments to the Tobacco Access Act, passed last fall, will be implemented in two phases: Follow-up inspections will be carried out during the summer that may result in written warnings and prosecution. Before proceeding with a charge, inspectors will consider the vendor’s intent to make changes, or proof of plans. “Tobacco retailers have concerns about making the changes,” said Mr. Barnet. “A three-month transition period will provide them with time to ask questions and make the necessary alterations.” Vendors will, however, be expected to comply with all other changes to the Tobacco Access Act by March 31, including removing signs and materials promoting and advertising the price or sale of tobacco products or tobacco-related promotions. Tobacco manufacturers’ colours and logos will not be permitted. Regulations about storage and display of tobacco products will be released shortly. Whether housed overhead, under the counter or in some other manner, the only tobacco product permitted to be viewed by the customer or public during a purchase is the product requested. So-called power walls, large displays of tobacco products often seen behind the counters in retail operations, will be prohibited. “Research indicates power walls are particularly appealing to children and young adults,” said Mr. Barnet. “Removing the only remaining avenue of tobacco product promotion is an important step in our ongoing and successful efforts to reduce smoking rates.” Tobacco use is a major contributor to premature death, disability and health-care costs, with an estimated impact of $550 million annually on the Nova Scotia economy. More than 1,600 Nova Scotians die each year because of tobacco use and 200 people die because of second-hand smoke.