OTTAWA, May 4, 2012 /CNW/ - Today, the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT) unveiled a large scale anti-illegal cigarette advertisement campaign in bus shelter locations across the city. This campaign aims to highlight the harmful impact of contraband tobacco in the Ottawa community.
"We are launching this campaign because contraband tobacco is a serious problem in Ontario, and it's essential that government and the public at large start to take it more seriously," said Gary Grant, a 39-year veteran of the Toronto Police service and spokesperson for the NCACT. "Ottawa, like communities across the province, is beginning to recognize the scope of this problem. In fact, Ottawa city council recently passed a motion calling on the federal and provincial governments to take tougher action on illegal cigarettes."
"Contraband tobacco is a prime source for youth smoking, and that is reason enough to act," continued Grant. "But the sad truth is that contraband tobacco is also used as a cash cow for illegal gangs. At the RCMP's last count, more than 175 criminal organizations used the sale of illegal tobacco to bank roll their activities, including drugs, guns, and human trafficking. Meanwhile, illegal cigarettes cost governments in Canada 2.1 billion dollars annually in lost tax revenue each year."
The NCACT is launching this campaign in Ottawa to help raise awareness and to reduce demand for contraband tobacco. Provincial governments in both Ontario and Quebec have recently established new regulations aimed to help deal with the illegal cigarette industry, and it's important that the federal government move in the same direction.
"Contraband tobacco is a problem that affects us all and is bigger than Ottawa. It hurts our communities and our children," said Grant. "The Ontario government recently committed to new legislation to provide additional anti-contraband enforcement tools which is a great step forward, but we want the federal government to take action as well. It is our hope that this advertising campaign will make an impact with politicians on the national level so that we can start to see them follow through on their commitments to the contraband problem."
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.
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