Survey of Ontarians reveals concern over growing problem with illegal cigarettes



    A majority think governments should be doing more to combat tobacco crime

    TORONTO, Aug. 27 /CNW/ - A recent survey of Ontarians shows a growing
concern about the danger posed by illegal cigarettes. A recent Pollara survey
of 802 Ontario residents shows that 64% of respondents believe both the
federal and provincial governments should be doing more to stop this growing
criminal trade.
    "Two things are immediately clear from this survey: many Ontarians don't
think buying contraband cigarettes is a crime and people who care about this
issue want to see governments doing more," said Dave Bryans, National
Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco. "Nearly 50% of cigarettes being sold in
Ontario are illegal and reigning in this problem is no easy task. The tax
losses are now approaching $2 billion each year. Governments need to take
deliberate, coordinated steps to snuff out this crime."

    
    Other key findings from the survey include:

    -   59% were supportive of more government action based on additional
        health concerns due to the possible presence of insect eggs, dead
        flies, mould and human feces in contraband cigarettes
    -   34% of people surveyed think additional law and order approaches to
        the problem are the best solutions
    -   54% feel dealing with contraband tobacco should be part of a larger
        government strategy on tobacco
    -   When asked, 42% believe tobacco taxes should be cut, similar to the
        federal government decision in 1993, in order to eliminate the
        illegal market. However 44% oppose such a move.
    

    The Pollara survey also showed that among smokers, price was a
significant driving force in their purchasing behaviour. 30% of respondents
who were smokers indicated that buying decisions are made primarily based on
affordability. And of those smokers who purchase contraband cigarettes, nearly
100% of them do so because of price and would only cease purchasing if
legitimate cigarettes were comparable in price. The study makes it clear that
price is the key driver of contraband cigarette purchasing, and the key reason
why smokers could potentially stop purchasing contraband cigarettes.





For further information:

For further information: Media inquiries: John Perenack, (416) 238-2576,
perenack@primestrat.com


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