Quebec Continues to Act Against Contraband Tobacco, It's Time Ontario Does the Same

OTTAWA, Oct. 17, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT) commended the Government of Quebec for contributing $4 million to the City of Montreal to fight contraband tobacco. This proactive initiative by the Quebec government serves as an important reminder of how illegal cigarettes remain a problem in the province. It is also a reminder to Ontario that meaningful action is needed to effectively combat the province's deeply entrenched illegal cigarette trade.

"Illegal cigarettes are a serious problem in Quebec and Ontario, and this action taken by government is an important step in the right direction in the fight against contraband," said Gary Grant, NCACT spokesperson and 39-year veteran of the Toronto Police Service. "The illegal cigarette trade in Quebec remains extremely volatile. By committing additional funds, Quebec's government recognized that more remains to be done to control the negative impact the illegal cigarette trade continues to have across the province."

Contraband tobacco has been a major problem in Canada for years. Its low cost - a "baggie" of 200 cigarettes often costing less than a movie ticket - combined with the fact that contraband dealers don't check ID make illegal cigarettes a prime source for youth smoking. The RCMP estimates that more than 175 criminal gangs use the profits from the trade to finance their other activities, including guns, drugs, and human smuggling.

Greater enforcement has a clear impact on Ontario's bottom line: a report from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, one of the NCACT's members, estimates that the federal and provincial governments lose as much as $1.1 billion a year in tax revenues to Ontario's illegal cigarette trade.

"This announcement shows the Quebec government is giving this issue the serious attention it deserves," continued Grant. "Ontario must do the same. The province has committed to tough new anti-contraband measures in the last two provincial budgets. It is important the government follow through on these commitments. There is more contraband tobacco in Ontario than any other province, and the problem won't improve unless that government takes concrete and meaningful action to address this problem."

"Commitments are meaningless without action," concluded Grant. "Ontario must take action."

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 growing threat.

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

For further information:

Michael Powell
(w) 613-566-5961, (m) 613-797-7313, (e)

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National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco

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