Quebec and Ontario have joined a growing number of jurisdictions banning the display of cigarettes in convenience stores.

As of Saturday, corner stores that sell cigarettes in those provinces are required to have them hidden from view. Large displays of tobacco known as "power walls" must now be covered.


Tobacco products can no longer be displayed in convenience stores in Quebec and Ontario. ((CBC))

Many store owners say they reorganized their premises well ahead of the deadline, but many aren't happy about the new guidelines.

Laverne Cochrane thinks the lack of promotion around tobacco will hurt his business in Kingston, Ont.  He also points out that some shopkeepers will be forced to take their eyes away from customers while they reach for cigarettes.

Cochrane said someone could see that as an opportunity to shoot or stab a store clerk in the back, or at the very least, steal something.

"There'd be no way a person working in a liquor store would turn their back and serve somebody, but they don't seem to worry about us," he told CBC News.

Independent convenience stores could face a $250 fine if they're caught displaying cigarettes. In extreme cases, they could be slammed with a $4,000 fine for a first offence. Corporations can face fines of up to $10,000.

Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, and Prince Edward Island all have similar display bans.

With files from the Canadian Press