OTTAWA, Feb. 29, 2016 /CNW/ - As the National Conference on Tobacco or Health begins today, the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT) calls on participants to focus their attention on the critical issue of contraband tobacco that continues to undermine tobacco control measures implemented by government.
"The National Conference on Tobacco or Health is a prime opportunity to discuss how organized crime-controlled contraband tobacco is a threat to public safety and public health in this country," said Gary Grant, a 39-year veteran of the Toronto Police Service and the NCACT's National Spokesperson. "Contraband tobacco puts cheap illegal cigarettes in the hands of underage smokers and makes a mockery of Canada's tobacco control laws. Illicit tobacco products have been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a priority and theme for its World No Tobacco Day 2015. The NCACT and its members encourage the Canadian government to ratify the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control which clearly outlines contraband tobacco as a growing global problem and threat to public health," continued Grant.
WHO research states that eliminating the trade in illegal tobacco would improve public health, reduce crime and generate an additional US$ 31 billion in tax revenue for governments.
In Canada, the danger of contraband tobacco has also been recognized by public health advocates. On November 16, 2015, after the introduction of the Ontario Smoke-Free Schools Act, 2015, the Heart and Stroke Foundation stated that "most smokers begin at a young age, often before they turn 20. The low cost of contraband cigarettes makes it easier and cheaper for young people to start smoking," echoing a 2010 report by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) demonstrating that youth are able to afford and access contraband tobacco products more readily than regulated tobacco products.
According to law enforcement agencies, illegal cigarettes bring Canada's youth into contact with some of our country's least desirable elements. Many contraband tobacco dealers are also involved in the sale of illegal drugs, weapons and human trafficking.
ABOUT THE NCACT
The National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco is a Canadian advocacy group formed by organizations and associations 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 growing threat.
The members of the NCACT are: Association des détaillants en alimentation du Québec (ADA), Association des marchands dépanneurs et épiciers du Québec (AMDEQ), Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA), Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers Council, Conseil du patronat du Québec (CPQ), Customs and Immigration Union, Échec au crime Québec, Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec (FCCQ), Frontier Duty Free Association (FDFA), National Convenience Stores Distributors Association (NACDA), Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Retail Council of Canada, Toronto Crime Stoppers, United Korean Commerce and Industry Association (UKCIA), and National Capital Area Crime Stoppers.
SOURCE National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT)
For further information: Michael Powell, (p) 1-866-950-5551, (m) 613-797-7313, (e) firstname.lastname@example.org