Illegal Tobacco Sales Still Up

Smokers buy cigarettes not only legal but even illegal, for them is more important to smoke in those moments. For example scientists found that as much as half of cigarettes sold in Ontario are illegal.

One in two cigarettes smoked in Ontario is illegal, robbing provincial and federal treasury of more than $2 billion a year and raising relations about children earning easy access to tobacco.

Contraband cigarettes

“There’s absolutely no doubt that there’s an incredible amount of revenue lost both in the province of Ontario and Quebec and to the federal government as well,” said provincial Community Safety Minister Rick Bartolucci.
A recent study for the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers’ Council found that illegal cigarette purchases in Ontario have risen to 48.6 percent, followed by Quebec with 40.1 percent.

The National Coalition against Contraband Tobacco gathered by hand 19,770 cigarette butts near 110 high schools, and found that 30 percent were illegal.

The coalition, which was launched by the Canadian Convenience Stores Association, whose members waste an average of $115,000 in sales annually due to illegal cigarettes, examined 14,064 butts from 75 Quebec high schools and declared that 45 percent were contraband.

They discovered so easy the illegal cigarettes only because each legal cigarette has a distinctive marking on the filter, and investigators are able to emphasize hot spots for untaxed and unregulated smokes.
Ontario and Quebec represent about 95 percent of illegal tobacco sales in Canada, and about 33 per cent of cigarettes sold in Canada are contraband.

Bartolucci said the problem is so widespread because smokers do not realize buying untaxed cigarettes for as little as $20 for a carton of 200 cigarettes is against the law.

“People have to understand the severity of buying, of making … and what damage it does do,” explained Bartolucci.

Antismoking scientists became alarmed because the cheap and easily available cigarettes will enable more children and teenagers to start smoking.

Rob Cunningham, a senior policy analyst at the Canadian Cancer Society, said: “Higher prices are the most effective means of discouraging smoking, especially among teenagers, who are more price sensitive than adults. We would be seeing smoking rates go down much faster if we could get contraband under control.”
Smokers censured high taxes on a carton of cigarettes for the popularity of contraband products, but tobacco taxes in Ontario and Quebec remain low.

Scientists declared that Ontario and Quebec have the lowest tobacco taxes in Canada, but the highest rates of contraband. So contraband is not caused by taxes, it is caused by the proximity to the sources of supply.

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