Study of cigarette butts from around schools shows Ottawa area teens getting
hooked on illegal cigarettes

Renewed call for government to ban youth possession of all tobacco

OTTAWA, Sept. 16 /CNW/ - A new study commissioned by the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT) confirms that teen smokers are getting hooked on contraband cigarettes in significant numbers. These cheap and easy to get illegal cigarettes are 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 that cost pennies a piece. 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. "Government needs to take meaningful action now by banning youth possession of tobacco. 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 are gaining ground among kids.

In Ottawa, cigarette butts were collected from around 11 high schools and analysis revealed 23% of the cigarette butts collected were illegal. These results were equal to the survey done in 2008 which also showed the rate of contraband around Ottawa high schools at 23%. Collections for the 2009 study were done around the following schools in the Ottawa area:

    
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    Bell High School                      40 Cassidy Rd           Nepean
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    Woodroffe High School                 2410 Georgina Drive     Ottawa
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    St. Paul High School                  2675 Avenue Draper      Ottawa
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    Canterbury High School                900 Canterbury Avenue   Ottawa
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    Ridgemont High School                 2597 Alta Vista Drive   Ottawa
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    Hillcrest High School                 1900 Chemin Dauphin     Ottawa
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    Rideau High School                    815 St. Laurent Blvd.   Ottawa
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    Cairine Wilson Secondary School       975 Orleans Blvd        Ottawa
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    Gloucester High School                2060 Ogilvie Rd         Gloucester
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    Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School  1515 Tenth Line Rd      Orleans
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    Nepean High School                    574 Broadview Avenue    Ottawa
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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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