PC leadership Candidate first to acknowledge Ontario illegal tobacco crisis

    The Ontario Korean Businessman's Association applauds Christine Elliott's
    law and order initiatives

    TORONTO, May 7 /CNW/ - The Ontario Korean Businessman's Association is
pleased to support yesterday's announcement by Christine Elliott, Progressive
Conservative Party of Ontario leadership candidate and MPP for Whitby-Oshawa
that she would work to "stop the proliferation of illicit tobacco" in Ontario.
    "Illegal tobacco sales in Ontario have grown from 23% of the market in
2006, to 32% in 2007, to almost 50% today. Many of our stores are seeing
reductions of 50% or more in their business because of the illegal trade.
Consumers who used to come in to buy cigarettes would typically pick up other
items at the same time. We are losing those sales because those consumers are
now buying their cigarettes in a back alley or from the trunk of a car,"
stated John Yoon, President of the OKBA.
    The RCMP estimates 105 organized crime groups are involved with the
illegal cigarette trade. The estimates regarding the Canadian market share of
illegal tobacco products come from widely accepted and recognized studies by
the tobacco industry. Illegal cigarettes are sold for as little as $6 for 200
sticks, whereas the same number of legal cigarettes costs upwards of $70,
putting law abiding business owners at a severe competitive disadvantage.
    "We are pleased to finally see that some members of the opposition in
Ontario are being more vocal about this growing crisis and we applaud Ms
Elliott for bringing this issue into the forefront. The OKBA will put our
support behind any candidate who is willing to put forward concrete solutions
to a problem that affects all of our members and their families" stated Yoon.

    The OKBA represents 2,500 business owners in Ontario.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Kenneth Kim, Tel: (416)

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