TORONTO, April 21 /CNW Telbec/ - Earlier today, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, met with students from St. Joseph's High School in Nepean, Ontario to highlight the Government of Canada's action to protect youth from tobacco. The Ontario Korean Businessman's Association (OKBA) is astonished that Canada's Health Minister can stand in front of students and declare that since passing amendments to the Tobacco Act last October; tobacco products are less accessible and less affordable to Canada's youth.
"What the Health Minister forgot to tell everyone is that since passing Bill C-32, an act that bans flavoured cigarillos, these product have made their way to the illegal market and are presently being sold to kids without any proof-of-age and much cheaper than they were before," said Kenneth Kim, COO & General Manager, OKBA. "What the Government has done is fuel the already increasing contraband market while honest retailers are losing their business to criminals," he added.
Illegal tobacco sales have reached close to 50% in Ontario and 40% in Quebec, and while the Government of Canada is praising itself for its efforts against youth smoking, recent Canadian Tobacco Usage Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) results highlight that youth smoking in Canada has relatively remained unchanged over the last three years and has actually increased in Quebec.
"For too long the Government of Canada has watched the free-for-all illegal tobacco market flourish without implementing real and concrete measures to fight it," said Mr. Kim. "It is time for the Government of Canada to assume its responsibilities and postpone any further self-praise until they have put an end to contraband tobacco once and for all."
The Ontario Korean Businessmen's Association was established in 1973 and is now serving over 2500 small business owners in Ontario. We are registered as a non-profit organization and mainly provide membership services as well as group purchases. Our estimated annual volume is approximately 2 billion dollars including the association's own wholesale outlet. Within its membership, about 75% of members (1875) are convenience store owners. These establishments represent approximately 27% of all independent convenience stores in Ontario.
SOURCE ONTARIO KOREAN BUSINESSMEN'S ASSOCIATION
For further information: For further information: Kenneth Kim, (416) 789-7891, firstname.lastname@example.org