With the end of a federal program that funded a tobacco enforcement officer on P.E.I., checks on retailers selling tobacco will be less frequent, but they can expect to be charged if they are caught selling to youth.

In the past the government hired under-aged mystery shoppers two or three times a year and had them attempt to buy cigarettes. With the loss of the tobacco enforcement officer who ran the program, those compliance checks will come only once a year.

But with that change, also coming to an end are the warnings that were typically the result of first-time offences.

"We've decided that we will not be issuing warnings any further," said Joe Bradley, provincial manager of environmental health.

"If there is a violation where a retailer sells tobacco to a youth, we'll be issuing a summary offence ticket."

Bradley said the province will be monitoring compliance rates, which were 100 per cent in the last round of checks, and If there is any significant change the checks could become more frequent again.