No more excuses for failing to tackle contraband tobacco

It's now time for Health Canada to address cheap, illegal and easily-accessible tobacco products

MONTREAL, Sept. 28, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - Following the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq's announcement to increase the size of health warnings on legal cigarettes, Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited urges the Minister of Health to now take a leading role to ensure the federal government delivers on its election promise to address the on-going contraband tobacco problem.

"It's now time for the Minister of Health to stop passing the buck and make contraband a priority for Health Canada," said John Clayton, vice president, Corporate Affairs. "Minister Aglukkaq needs to put in place a strategy that forces the illegal factories and traffickers who are selling their products in unlabelled transparent baggies to also comply with tobacco regulation," he added.

Despite some decline in different areas the RCMP has reported there are now 50 illegal cigarette factories and over 300 smoke shacks selling tobacco on First Nations reserves in Canada. In addition, more than 175 organize crime groups have been linked to the dealing of illegal tobacco. Just in the last month, the Cornwall Regional Task Force (CRTF) seized close to 1 million illegal cigarettes, 1,707 grams of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. But even law enforcement concedes they are capturing only a small fraction of these illegal cigarettes.

Imperial Tobacco Canada recognizes the health risks associated with smoking and agrees that consumers should continue to be informed about those risks. The company also believes that the health risks have been known for decades and that the existing regulations provide sufficient information to consumers in order for them to make an informed decision. Increasing the size of health warnings will not provide greater awareness to consumers or decrease the number of smokers.


For further information:

Media Contacts:

Eric Gagnon
Manager, External Affairs
Tel: (514) 932-6161, ext. 2113

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