LONDON, ON, Jan. 26, 2012 /CNW/ - Tuesday's seizure of 75,000 contraband
cigarettes by London RCMP reinforces the extent of the illegal tobacco
problem in the London Area. In the fall of 2011, the National Coalition
Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT) launched an advertising campaign in
the city to help raise public awareness of this problem.
"Seizures of illegal tobacco, such as Tuesday's, are an all-too-regular
occurrence, which is why we launched our awareness campaign last fall,"
said Gary Grant, NCACT spokesperson and 39-year veteran of the Toronto
Police Service. "While these busts speak to the hard work that the RCMP
and other law enforcement agencies are doing to stop smugglers, it is
an equally startling reminder of the scope of the problem. In fact, the
NCACT commissioned a study that found that 25% of cigarette butts at a
number of London locations were contraband."
Illegal tobacco seizures only hint at the extent of the much larger
problem. Despite their diligence, the RCMP estimates that they only
stop 5 to 6 percent of contraband tobacco in Canada. Busts like this
can only hinder smugglers temporarily, as the size and scope of their
operations are large enough to keep going.
"It's important to remember that the trade in illegal cigarettes is the
domain of organized crime," continued Grant. "The RCMP estimates that
there are more than 175 criminal organizations using the sale of
contraband tobacco to finance their activities, including guns, drugs,
and human trafficking. Effectively, illegal cigarettes are the cash cow
for some of Canada's least desirable elements."
Contraband tobacco's negative social effects extend beyond its
connection to crime. The low price and easy accessibility of Illegal
cigarettes make it a prime source for youth smoking. In fact, a recent
study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health found that
contraband tobacco's availability was a contributor to Ontario's
relatively high youth smoking rates. Indeed, NCACT's study in London
found that 35% of cigarette butts near London high schools were
"Tobacco smuggling comes at a tremendous social and economic cost, and
the tools we have to stop it are insufficient," concluded Grant. "It is
time for meaningful action to address this serious problem."
Gary Grant is available will be available for media interviews January
26th and 27th.
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, The Customs & Immigration Union (CIU), the Ontario Chamber
of Commerce, and the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.
SOURCE National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco
For further information: