Ontario study shows highest incidences of youth access to contraband tobacco
in York Region

    
    Contraband tobacco found at all schools studied: Newmarket 48%; Aurora
    42%; Markham 27%; Thornhill 20%; Sutton 33%; Keswisk 23%; Bradford 25%;
    Innisfil 20%
    

YORK REGION, ON, Oct. 1 /CNW/ - A new study commissioned by the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT) revealed that the highest incidences of youth access to contraband tobacco are in York Region. Contraband tobacco is cheap, easy to get illegal cigarettes being smuggled and sold throughout Canada in record numbers, and quietly undermining government anti-smoking programs.

"Kids, who shouldn't be smoking at all, are having no trouble getting their hands on illegal cigarettes. For a third year running, this study shows that youth are a primary target of the thugs at the end of the contraband tobacco distribution chain," said Gary Grant, spokesperson for the NCACT and retired Staff Superintendent of the Toronto Police Service. "York Region has the highest numbers we've seen so far. It tells us that governments need to take meaningful action now to address this problem. We think banning youth possession of tobacco is a good start. If it's illegal for someone under 19 to have a beer, the same or stricter rules should apply for cigarettes - it's just common sense."

While youth smoking rates continue to hover at all-time lows, this new research shows the use of unregulated and untaxed contraband tobacco cigarettes continue to be a available to kids.

    
    Community Results and collection locations:

    Thornhill
    -------------------------
    2009      2008      2007
    -------------------------
    20%       21%       23%
    -------------------------

    -   Stephen Lewis S.S.
    -   Thornhill Secondary School

    Markham
    -------------------------
    2009      2008      2007
    -------------------------
    29%       26%       27%
    -------------------------

    - Middlefield C.I.

    Aurora
    -------------------------
    2009      2008      2007
    -------------------------
    42%       45%       47%
    -------------------------

    - Aurora H.S.
    - The G.W. Williams Secondary School

    Newmarket
    -------------------------
    2009      2008      2007
    -------------------------
    48%       47%       50%
    -------------------------

    - Huron Heights S.S.
    - Newmarket H.S.

    Sutton
    --------
    2009
    --------
    33%
    --------

    - Sutton District High School

    Keswick
    --------
    2009
    --------
    23%
    --------

    - Keswick High School

    Bradford
    --------
    2009
    --------
    25%
    --------

    - Bradford District HS

    Innisfil
    --------
    2009
    --------
    20%
    --------

    - Nantyr Shores Secondary School
    

Grant added: "The tragedy here is that contraband tobacco has short-circuited all the government's anti-smoking efforts - taxes, health warnings, display bans, mandatory ID checks, government anti-smoking initiatives - are all going up in smoke because of the wide availability of illegal cigarettes."

The NCACT's 2009 Youth Contraband Study was conducted by independent research company that visited high schools in Ontario and Quebec to collect cigarette butts from public grounds outside school property. Collections were done by experienced research personnel during after-school hours. Cigarette butts were collected, examined and classified in three categories: legal, contraband or unknown.

Contraband cigarettes are often made in illegal, unregulated factories and sold to kids out of the trunks of cars. Contraband cigarettes are illegally imported from places like the United States and China, or illegally manufactured and sold, tens of thousands of cartons each day, right here in Canada.

They are priced cheaply, often selling for $1.00 for a pack of 20 cigarettes as compared to $8.00 for government taxed cigarettes. This happens with absolutely no government inspection, testing, or review. In every case, these tobacco products are being sold without tax, robbing government of billions in revenue each year.

SOURCE National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT)

For further information: For further information: Media inquiries: John Perenack, perenack@primestrat.com (quick response), (416) 948-8722


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