Don't be fooled by illegal tobacco products say Crime Stoppers and Convenience Stores

Get informed and don't get fined

TORONTO, Aug. 1, 2015 /CNW/ - Toronto Crime Stoppers and the Ontario Convenience Stores Association warn Ontarians not to get busted buying contraband tobacco this long weekend.

Their joint campaign, Contraband: Buy It, Get Busted, aims to increase awareness of the penalties associated with purchasing illegal tobacco, and educates consumers on the differences between legal and illegal products.

"In Ontario one in three cigarettes purchased are illegal, yet few Ontarians are aware of the fines associated with purchasing illegal smokes," says Dave Bryans, CEO, OCSA. "Under the Tobacco Tax Act, unless otherwise authorized, it is illegal to buy, possess or distribute any quantity of untaxed or unregulated cigarettes or other tobacco products."

"If charged and convicted of the offence, purchasers can face fines, jail time or both," adds Sean Sportun, Vice Chair, Toronto Crime Stoppers.

Being caught in possession of a single pack of contraband cigarettes will cost the purchaser $108. The fine for 50 cartons or baggies is $4,693. Any more can send you to jail.

"Buying contraband tobacco is not only breaking the law," says Bryans, "but creates unfair competition for legal businesses that comply with Ontario laws, such as your local convenience store."

The easiest way to recognize legal tobacco products is by the yellow stamp with the letters ''ON'' in white and in black letters the words ''DUTY PAID CANADA DROIT ACQUITTÉ'. For others, visit:

If you see illegal tobacco products or people selling illegal tobacco products, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Crime Stoppers is a partnership of the public, police and media that provides the community with a proactive program for people to assist the police anonymously to solve crimes, thereby contributing to an improved quality of life.

The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) represents more than 7,000 convenience store operators throughout the province who are committed to Responsible Community Retailing. More than three million people visit convenience stores in communities across Ontario every day.

SOURCE Ontario Convenience Stores Association

For further information: or to arrange interviews, please contact: Nic Canning, Smithcom Ltd.,

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