Study shows organized distribution of contraband tobacco has reached Ontario and Quebec high schools



    Alarming use of illegal contraband tobacco among youth smokers

    Independent study finds contraband tobacco products account for 24% of
    youth tobacco consumption in Ontario and 35% in Quebec

    OTTAWA, Nov. 1 /CNW/ - A new study commissioned by the Canadian
Convenience Stores Association's (CCSA) 'We Expect ID' Program shows that high
school smokers are using contraband tobacco in alarming numbers. Illegal
cigarettes, otherwise known as contraband tobacco, are being imported and sold
throughout Canada inexpensively and with no government oversight.
    While youth smoking rates are at an all-time low, the research
commissioned by the CCSA shows the use of these cheap, easily accessible,
unregulated and untaxed contraband tobacco cigarettes are widespread among
youth.
    "The rampant use of these contraband cigarettes is a growing problem
across Canada," said Dave Bryans, President of the CCSA. "Through 'We Expect
ID', we commissioned this study to determine whether youths were getting
access to these illegal products. We were absolutely shocked by the extent to
which it is actually happening. There are clearly some very serious
implications as a result of these findings. Not only are these illegal
cigarettes robbing the government of billions in tax revenue each year, but
even more disconcerting is that no one knows what's really in these contraband
cigarettes. They're often made in illegal, unregulated factories and sold to
kids out of the trunks of cars. This should be a serious wake-up call to youth
smokers, their parents, police agencies and government officials alike."
    The study involved independent research company, Arcus Group, visiting 55
high schools in Ontario and 50 in Quebec to collect cigarette butts from
public ground outside school property. Collections were done by experienced
research personnel from the Arcus Group during after-school hours. Over 11,000
cigarette butts were collected and then carefully examined and classified in
three categories: legal, contraband or unknown.
    The study reveals that in Ontario 24% of high school smokers' cigarette
butts were contraband, while in Quebec, contraband made up 35% of school yard
cigarettes.
    "These results make it clear the harm being caused by contraband tobacco
goes well beyond business - it's affecting neighbourhoods in communities
throughout Ontario, Quebec and presumably across the country", added Bryans.
"Contraband represents a very complex problem with no easy solution, but if we
are going to fight this creeping menace, we need to work together and press
government to make this a priority."
    Contraband cigarettes are being illegally imported from places like China
or illegally sold, tens of thousands of cartons each day, right here in
Canada. They are priced cheaply, often selling for $1 for a pack of 20
cigarettes as compared to $8.00 for government taxed cigarettes. This all
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.

    
    Additional key statistics and findings:

        -  11,267 cigarette butts from around schools were collected - 5457
           in Ontario and 5810 in Quebec.

        -  In Ontario, the highest and lowest incidences of contraband
           included Newmarket and Aurora with 50% and 47% respectively, while
           Burlington and Oakville had the lowest, at 9% and 8% respectively.

        -  In Quebec, the highest and lowest incidences of contraband
           included Anjou and Côte-des-Neiges with 74% and 60% respectively,
           while St-Michel and Greenfield Park held the lowest at 12% and 18%
           respectively.

        -  22 of the 44 municipalities/regions surveyed had over 30% share of
           illegal cigarette butts. 11 municipalities had over 40% share of
           illegal cigarette butts from the areas reviewed.


    Regional Breakdown: The Spread of Contraband Tobacco Among Youth

    Ontario (55 high schools)
    ------------------------------------------
                                 % Contraband
    ------------------------------------------
    Toronto                            23
    ------------------------------------------
    Hamilton                           15
    ------------------------------------------

    ------------------------------------------
                                 % Contraband
    ------------------------------------------
    Durham Region Average              28
    ------------------------------------------
    Ajax                               15
    ------------------------------------------
    Pickering                          39
    ------------------------------------------
    Whitby                             24
    ------------------------------------------
    Oshawa                             32
    ------------------------------------------

    ------------------------------------------
                                 % Contraband
    ------------------------------------------
    Halton Region Average               9
    ------------------------------------------
    Burlington                          9
    ------------------------------------------
    Oakville                            8
    ------------------------------------------
    Milton                             10
    ------------------------------------------

    ------------------------------------------
                                 % Contraband
    ------------------------------------------
    Peel Region Average                36
    ------------------------------------------
    Brampton                           29
    ------------------------------------------
    Mississauga                        44
    ------------------------------------------

    ------------------------------------------
                                 % Contraband
    ------------------------------------------
    York Region Average                32
    ------------------------------------------
    Aurora                             47
    ------------------------------------------
    Markham                            27
    ------------------------------------------
    Newmarket                          50
    ------------------------------------------
    Richmond Hill                      15
    ------------------------------------------
    Vaughan                            24
    ------------------------------------------


    Quebec (50 high schools)
    ------------------------------------------
    City                         % Contraband
    ------------------------------------------
    Greater Montreal Area              37
    ------------------------------------------
    Quebec City                        32
    ------------------------------------------

    ------------------------------------------
    Area                         % Contraband
    ------------------------------------------
    Anjou                              74
    ------------------------------------------
    Côte-des-Neiges                    60
    ------------------------------------------
    Dorval                             38
    ------------------------------------------
    Duvernay                           48
    ------------------------------------------
    Greenfield Park                    18
    ------------------------------------------
    Jean-Talon                         38
    ------------------------------------------
    Lachine                            34
    ------------------------------------------
    Laval-Des-Rapides                  55
    ------------------------------------------
    Laval-Ouest                        50
    ------------------------------------------
    Longeuil                           50
    ------------------------------------------
    Montreal                           41
    ------------------------------------------
    Notre-Dame-de-Grâce                25
    ------------------------------------------
    Pierrefonds                        36
    ------------------------------------------
    Pointe-Claire                      31
    ------------------------------------------
    Rosemont                           36
    ------------------------------------------
    St-Michel                          12
    ------------------------------------------
    Snowdon                            31
    ------------------------------------------
    Verdun                             52
    ------------------------------------------
    Westmount                          26
    ------------------------------------------
    

    Survey Methodology and Accuracy

    Visits were made to 50 high schools in Quebec (Greater Montreal Area and
Quebec City) and 55 high schools in Ontario (Greater Toronto Area and
Hamilton) between Sept 18th and October 5th, 2007.
    The data has been tested for significance at the 95% confidence level
with a 0.9% margin of error for the broad sample base. Results based on
Ontario and Quebec Sample (n= 11,267) +/- 0.9%; Results based on Ontario
Sample (n= 5457) +/- 1.3%; Results based on Quebec Sample (n= 5810) +/- 1.3%

    About 'We Expect ID'

    The 'We Expect ID' program is the Canadian Convenience Stores
Association's rigorous age verification system to prevent youth from getting
access to restricted products sold through convenience stores, including:
alcohol, tobacco, movies, adult-themed magazines, lottery tickets, fireworks
and other combustibles. It is a zero-tolerance approach to keeping restricted
products out of the hands of youth. More information is available at
www.conveniencestores.ca.





For further information:

For further information: English Media inquiries: John Perenack,
perenack@room-40.com (quick response), (416) 948-8722; French Media inquiries:
Guy Nadeau, (514) 651-3180

Organization Profile

Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA)

More on this organization


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890