Canadians recognize that illegal tobacco sales are a problem for the country and look to governments for answers



    
    Highlights:
    -----------

    - 83% of Canadians believe illegal tobacco sales are a problem.

    - 45.2% of Canadians believe that the federal government should take the
      lead in addressing the sale of illegal tobacco.

    - Regardless of party affiliation, Canadians believe the federal
      government should stop the sale of illegal tobacco.
    

    MONTREAL, Oct. 9 /CNW Telbec/ - A recent study commissioned by Imperial
Tobacco Canada found that the vast majority of Canadians think the illegal
tobacco trade is a problem in Canada that the federal government and the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police should address.
    "The results of this public opinion poll clearly show that the government
must take this problem seriously and propose practical solutions to counter
it. The problem is growing out of control," said Benjamin Kemball, President
and CEO of Imperial Tobacco Canada. "We are disappointed that this major issue
is not included in any party's current electoral platform."
    83.6% of respondents consider illegal tobacco trade to be a problem. This
proportion increases to 86.2% in Quebec and 83.9% in Ontario. As for the
question of who is ultimately responsible for stamping out this scourge, 59.6%
of respondents with an opinion say it is the federal government, while 17%
believe this duty goes to the RCMP, resulting in 76.6% of those surveyed
naming the federal authorities as the ones who should tackle the issue.
    Canadians are concerned with a number of issues that result from illegal
tobacco sales with unrestricted youth access to tobacco and the crime related
to illegal tobacco topping the list. In addition, almost half of Canadians
(47.9%) believe that youth access to illegal tobacco is a major problem. In
Quebec, where illegal tobacco makes up 40% of the cigarette market this number
jumps to 68.6%.
    This survey comes on the heels of several other recent studies that put
the problem of illegal tobacco sales into perspective:

    
    - 13 billion - Total estimated amount of illegal cigarettes bought in
      Canada in 2008, as opposed to 10 billion in 2007.

    - Governments lose over $2 billion in tax revenues.

    - Nearly half (48.6%) of the cigarettes bought in Ontario and 40% of
      those purchased in Quebec were illegal.

    - Illegal cigarettes are found in one out of every five Canadian
      homes (19.3%) (homes with smokers only).

    - For the past three years, results have shown a considerable
      increase - from 15.1% in 2006 to 27.7% in 2008 - in the amount of
      smokers aged 19 to 29 who purchase illegal cigarettes in Canada.
    

    Illegal tobacco products do not comply with Canada's tobacco regulations.
Furthermore, illegal tobacco trade erodes the respect Canadians have toward
public order and undermines tobacco control initiatives put in place by
governments.
    In the meantime, criminal organizations get richer and expand their
networks by financing other activities. With all we know today about illegal
tobacco trade, one can only wonder why the Government still does nothing.
    The survey was conducted between September 27 and September 29, 2008 with
1,201 Canadians by Nanos Research. This survey's margin of error is below 3%,
19 times out of 20.




For further information:

For further information: Sophie Alarie, Imperial Tobacco Canada, (514)
932-6161, salarie@itl.ca


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