OTTAWA, May 7, 2013 /CNW/ - To mark today the fifth anniversary of the
RCMP's Contraband Tobacco Enforcement Strategy, the National Coalition
Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT) released a report looking at the
current state of illegal cigarettes in Canada.
"There is ample reason for Canadians to be concerned about contraband
tobacco," said Gary Grant, a 39-year veteran of the Toronto Police
Service and National Spokesperson for the NCACT. "Its low price and
easy availability—a "baggie" of 200 cigarettes can cost less than a
movie ticket and contraband dealers don't check for I.D.—make it a
prime source for youth smoking. Contraband tobacco is also a cash cow
for organized crime. The RCMP estimates that there are about 175
criminal gangs involved in the trade, using the profits to finance
their other illegal activities, including guns, drugs and human
Much has happened in the five years since the RCMP launched its
Contraband Tobacco Enforcement Strategy. The Canadian, Ontario and
Quebec governments have all given police new powers to investigate and
charge those that traffic in the trade, but the illegal cigarette
industry continues to evolve to compensate," "Contraband smuggling is
still a major problem in Ontario and Quebec and, increasingly, in
Atlantic Canada. There is still much more work to do.
"The NCACT believes that a number of steps are still necessary. While
governments have introduced anti-contraband measures, more can still be
done. Ontario and Quebec have both studied tougher legislation, it is
now important that they act. Other provinces, such as those in Atlantic
Canada, would also benefit from proper anti-contraband tobacco
legislation," continued Grant. "It is also important that all levels of
government— including federal, provincial, municipal and First
Nations—meet this challenge. Of note, Ontario has already launched
pilot projects with First Nations communities to this end. It is
important that governments collaborate with aboriginal communities to
find innovative solutions."
In 2008, the RCMP had committed to reviewing the strategy every three
years. That review, according to the RCMP's last anti-contraband
progress report, was to be completed by the end of 2012. The NCACT and
its members are always interested in playing a part in the development
of such strategies.
"Contraband tobacco, as was the case in 2008, is a complicated,
multi-jurisdictional problem. The criminals that run the trade also
constantly adapt their practices to government action. To be effective,
government's response must be thorough, nimble, and constant."
A copy of the report is available for download at www.stopcontrabandtobacco.ca.
The National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco is a Canadian advocacy
group formed with the participation of businesses, organizations and
individuals 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
The members of the NCACT include: Canadian Convenience Stores
Association (CCSA), Retail Council of Canada, Canadian Taxpayers
Federation, Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers Council, National
Convenience Stores Distributors Association (NACDA), Canadian Chamber
of Commerce, Frontier Duty Free Association, Flue-Cured Tobacco
Growers, Fédération des Chambres de Commerce du Québec (FCCQ), Conseil
du Patronat du Québec (CPQ), l'Association des marchands dépanneurs et
épiciers du Québec (AMDEQ), Toronto Crime Stoppers, National Citizen's
coalition, The Customs & Immigration Union (CIU), the Ontario Chamber
of Commerce, and the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.
SOURCE: National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco
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