RCMP Seize Large Quantity of Shisha Tobacco

LONDON, ON, Nov. 24 /CNW/ - On Thursday, November 19th, 2009 the London Customs & Excise Section of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) with the assistance of Sarnia and Milton Customs & Excise Sections executed a Search Warrant at a business located in Oakville, Ontario. Officers seized approximately 2 tonnes of Egyptian Shisha Tobacco, under the brand name of "El Nahla".

Shisha is a product that is a mix of molasses and fruit flavors, which is laced with tobacco, and is smoked in a Hookah (water pipe). Many people are misled in believing that hookah smoking is safer than cigarette smoking because the tobacco smoke is filtered through water before it is actually smoked, which is not the case. Hookah tobacco and smoke contain nicotine and many of the same cancer-causing agents found in other tobacco products. The product seized is not labeled as containing tobacco nor does it display health warnings.

It is an offence in Canada to possess tobacco products not properly stamped under the Excise Act. Offenders convicted of possessing, buying or selling contraband tobacco products could be subject to fines or penalties ranging from $10,000 to $1,000,000 and/or imprisonment for up to five years. This excludes Provincial fines, which can be many times higher.

"This type of imported product undermines a series of Federal and Provincial acts and regulations, leaving both the public at large, and consumer in particular, at risk. These products are entering the country improperly labeled avoiding Federal and Provincial taxes, while at the same time consumers of this product are using a tobacco product who's quality and manufacture standards are simply unknown", stated Inspector Dwight Blok, Officer in Charge of the RCMP London Detachment. "Our goal in this type of investigation is to increase public awareness about the health and safety dangers of this type of product, while at the same time helping to protect the interests and impact to the Canadian economy and taxpayers," stated Inspector Blok.

Anyone with information regarding the sale and manufacturing of contraband tobacco is asked to contact the RCMP at 1-800-387-0020 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-265-4444.

SOURCE Royal Canadian Mounted Police

For further information: For further information: Cpl. Darren Morgan, Media Relation Officer, London Detachment, RCMP "O" Division, Office: (519) 645-4329 ext. 230, Email: darren.morgan@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

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