Nova Scotians will no longer see tobacco displays, products or advertising in local stores because of the province’s new regulations. Regulations of the Tobacco Access Act will be implemented in two phases over the next three months, in consultation with tobacco vendors. “The three-month transition period will ensure that every vendor has the time they need to make the necessary changes to their store and comply with the regulations,” said Health Promotion and Protection Minister Barry Barnet. “We have taken away another promotional tool from the tobacco industry. This is another step in reducing our overall smoking rates in Nova Scotia.” Phase one begins today, May 31, — World No Tobacco Day — and spans the next two months. The province will provide guidance to tobacco vendors as they remove tobacco products from public view. In August, tobacco inspectors will begin issuing verbal warnings if vendors have not complied with the regulations. As of Saturday, Sept. 1, vendors still not in compliance will be issued written warnings. After that, charges will be considered. Amendments to the Tobacco Access Act were passed last fall and regulations were finalized this week. The amendments require that tobacco products be stored under the counter, in an overhead bin, or behind the counter with the following conditions: 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 the 1,600 Nova Scotians die each year because of tobacco use and 200 people die because of second-hand smoke. A complete copy of the regulations and vendor bulletin can be found at www.gov.ns.ca/hpp . Tobacco vender associations received official notification from the province today. In addition, all tobacco venders will receive copies of the regulations by mail. The regulations also state that as of Tuesday, July 31, some locations will no longer be permitted to sell tobacco products including: Behind-the-counter space is limited to 15,720 square centimeters Cabinet doors must be spring loaded so they close on their own Tobacco products stored in cabinets must only have the Health Canada emissions panel visible to customers. recreation and sport facilities such as gyms, pools, rinks and fitness centres community colleges and universities amusement parks, video arcades and pool halls community centres or halls, fire halls and church halls, and arenas government offices gaming premises libraries, art galleries and museums facilities defined in the Hospitals Act and Homes for Special Care Act, and health-care facilities used for the acute or long-term care of veterans restaurants, lounges or beverage rooms, defined in the Smoke-Free Places Regulations outdoor areas or a moveable or temporary location.