Recent seizures emphasize the national scope of the problem
OTTAWA, Nov. 4, 2011 /CNW/ - Recent seizures of truckloads of illegal
cigarettes in British Columbia and Nova Scotia emphasize that the
problem of illegal tobacco is spreading throughout the country, says
the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT). Tuesday, the
RCMP announced that they had broken up a smuggling ring in the greater
Vancouver area, seizing nearly 600,000 cartons of illegal cigarettes.
Wednesday in Cape Breton, on Canada's other coast, the RCMP announced
that they had seized almost a million illegal cigarettes.
"This is dramatic evidence that the problem of illegal tobacco is
spreading nationally," said Gary Grant, a 39-year veteran of the
Toronto Police service and current spokesperson for the NCACT. "Too
often we think of contraband tobacco as a problem predominantly limited
to Ontario and Quebec, but these seizures are a stark reminder that the
criminals that operate the illegal tobacco trade are spreading their
Illegal cigarettes cause a number of associated problems. At the RCMP's
last count, the contraband tobacco trade was used by more than 175
criminal gangs to finance their other illegal activities, including
guns, drugs, and human smuggling. They also make a mockery of Canada's
tobacco control regulations. They are often sold in clear plastic
"baggies" that carry none of the government's health warnings. Their
low price - a baggie of 200 illegal smokes can cost less than the price
of a movie ticket, up to $70 less than legal product - makes them
particularly attractive to youth.
"Busts are always good news, but these reveal a new level of
sophistication from the contraband gangs, with police seizures
including very elaborate counterfeits of legitimate products," said
Grant. "More advanced contraband is a direct result of government not
taking enough action to curb this problem."
During the federal election, the government committed to creating a new
RCMP taskforce dedicated to contraband tobacco, as well as creating a
new offence for contraband smuggling. The NCACT hopes that the
government will move forward on these in the very near future.
"The influence of contraband tobacco is spreading, and the gangs it
funds are getting stronger," concluded Grant. "We cannot let this trend
continue; government must take real action now."
The National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco is a Canadian advocacy
group formed with the participation of businesses, organizations and
individuals concerned about the growing danger of contraband
cigarettes. NCACT members share the goals of working together to
educate people and urge government to take quick action to stop this
The members of the NCACT include: Canadian Convenience Stores
Association (CCSA), Retail Council of Canada, Canadian Taxpayers
Federation, Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers Council, National
Convenience Stores Distributors Association (NACDA), Canadian Chamber
of Commerce, Frontier Duty Free Association, Flue-Cured Tobacco
Growers, Fédération des Chambres de Commerce du Québec (FCCQ), Conseil
du Patronat du Québec (CPQ), l'Association des marchands dépanneurs et
épiciers du Québec (AMDEQ), Toronto Crime Stoppers, National Citizen's
coalition, and The Customs & Immigration Union (CIU).
SOURCE National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco
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