A tobacconist in Kentville, N.S., has been charged with failing to comply with provincial anti-smoking rules.
Bob Gee, with Mader's Tobacco Store, said an inspector charged him Tuesday with one count of storing tobacco products and another of improper display.
"I'm disappointed," he told CBC News. "For the last year and a half we've been dealing with extremists, and they've had a total hatred toward tobacco — no ifs, ands or buts — and that's unfortunate."
Gee has been openly flouting the provincial regulations that require tobacco products to be kept from display under the counter.
Tobacco is legal, he argues, so Mader's should be allowed to show its products to customers.
"Our business is 95 per cent tobacco, and they're basically telling me by charging me that I'm guilty of doing my job," Gee said.
The fine for a first offence is $2,000. A second conviction carries a maximum fine of $5,000, while the fine doubles to $10,000 for a third conviction.
Gee plans to fight the charge when his case goes to court June 16.
"If I'm going to have to go to court to get justice, so be it," he said. "We've had more than 50 non-smokers personally come to our shop to give us support and backing for what we are doing."