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Madoc gas station may face prohibition on all tobacco sales

By Zachary Greco

A Madoc gas station and variety store may face a prohibition on all tobacco sales after numerous failed compliance checks.

The Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit has submitted a formal request to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in request of an Automatic Prohibition under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.

2150107 Ontario Inc., otherwise known as Madoc Gas and Variety/XTR, has been owned and operated by Kannathasan Arunasalam since 2007.  Since March of 2008 Mr. Arunasalam has been caught selling tobacco to persons under 19 and charged four times.

The charges were laid following routine compliance checks made by tobacco enforcement officers.

Officers have an underage shopper who looks young go into a store and try to buy cigarettes.  If the store clerk checks for I.D. then no charges are laid.  If no request is made to see some sort of legal I.D. then the underage shopper gives the cigarettes to the enforcement officer and charges are laid.

The last charge was laid in August 2011.  The conviction was registered November 29, 2011, with an $800 fine levied.

When contacted about the possible prohibition, Mr. Arunasalam would not comment.

On January 9, the health unit submitted its request for prohibition to the ministry and has since been awaiting the results of the request.

“This does not happen very often, it’s not unprecedented,” said health unit media relations consultant Carol Snell.  “Around the boardroom table, the medical officer of health didn’t recall any requested prohibitions during his time here, which is about six years.”

“We have had them previous to this, but this is the first one for some time,” said Snell.