Alarming rate of Smuggling Tobacco use by Youngsters

Almost one in five packs of cigarettes light up by Canadian teens smokers are smuggling tobacco products, with that figure even higher in Ontario and Quebec, said a new report from the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

According to a recent report, more than 25 percent of adolescent smokers in Canada’s two largest provinces inhale unlawful smoking products.

Young smokers and smoking rates

Dr. Russell Callaghan of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto explained: “Although the use of illicit substances by adolescents is well known, the use of contraband cigarettes in this age group is striking.”
Canadian tobacco-control strategies need to take in serious this issue.

The wide use of First Nations and native brand cigarettes, especially in Ontario and Quebec, presents an earnest defiance to tobacco-control strategies, which try to use accessibility and price mechanisms for to affect the adolescents’ smoking habit.

Almost 42,000 students in Grades 9 to 12 were enrolled in the survey. Researchers reported that 5.2 percent were daily smokers and more than 13 percent of them used contraband cigarettes.

At the end of the investigation, researchers found that students who were considered daily smokers and used contraband tobacco products also reported higher smoking rates over those who smoke legal brands.
For example, those who had access to contraband products smoked an average of 16.8 cigarettes a day, while those would paid the higher price for legal products smoked 11.9 cigarettes.

That figure was very much alarming for the research director of the Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, Neil Collishaw.

He reported: “There are some exciting things…those youth who use contraband, tend to smoke more and I think this causes me to think there’s a fundamental problems with the way we’re doing things. We’ve tried to set up strong controls on tobacco, but youths continue to smoke, whether it’s contraband or regular cigarettes.”

The area around Cornwall, Ont., about 100 kilometers southeast of Ottawa, has been a noted hot spot for tobacco smuggling.

At the end of August, Cornwall RCMP seized more than 700,000 contraband cigarettes in six isolated incidents.

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