Study of cigarette butts from around schools shows more Windsor teens getting
hooked on illegal cigarettes

    34% of cigarette butts found were contraband tobacco - 4% more than 2008;
    Group makes renewed call for government to ban youth possession of all

WINDSOR, ON, Sept. 22 /CNW/ - A new study commissioned by the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT) confirms that teen smokers are getting hooked on contraband cigarettes in growing numbers. These cheap and easy to get illegal cigarettes are being smuggled and sold throughout Canada in record numbers and quietly undermining government anti-smoking programs.

"Kids, who shouldn't be smoking at all, are having no trouble getting their hands on illegal cigarettes that cost pennies a piece. For a second year running, this study shows that kids in Windsor are a primary target of the thugs at the end of the contraband tobacco distribution chain," said Gary Grant, spokesperson for the NCACT and retired Staff Superintendent of the Toronto Police Service. "Government needs to take meaningful action now by banning youth possession of tobacco. If it's illegal for someone under 19 to have a beer, the same or stricter rules should apply for cigarettes - it's just common sense."

While youth smoking rates continue to hover at all-time lows, this new research shows the use of unregulated and untaxed contraband tobacco cigarettes are gaining ground among kids.

In Windsor, cigarette butts were collected from around 7 high schools and analysis revealed 34% of the cigarette butts collected were illegal. These results were 4% higher than the survey done in 2008 which showed the rate of contraband around Windsor high schools at 30%. Collections for the 2009 study were done around the following schools in the Windsor area:

    Riverside High School                   8465 Jerome St
    St Joseph's High School                 5420 Empress St
    Herman High School                      1930 Rossini Blvd
    Assumption College                      1100 Huron Church Road
    Holy Names                              1400 Northwood Street
    Century Secondary School                1375 California Avenue
    F. J. Brennan Catholic High School      910 Raymo Road

Grant added: "The tragedy here is that contraband tobacco has short-circuited all the government's anti-smoking efforts - taxes, health warnings, display bans, mandatory ID checks, government anti-smoking initiatives - are all going up in smoke because of the wide availability of illegal cigarettes."

The NCACT's 2009 Youth Contraband Study was conducted by independent research company that visited high schools in Ontario and Quebec to collect cigarette butts from public grounds outside school property. Collections were done by experienced research personnel during after-school hours. Cigarette butts were collected, examined and classified in three categories: legal, contraband or unknown.

Contraband cigarettes are often made in illegal, unregulated factories and sold to kids out of the trunks of cars. Contraband cigarettes are illegally imported from places like the United States and China, or illegally manufactured and sold, tens of thousands of cartons each day, right here in Canada.

They are priced cheaply, often selling for $1.00 for a pack of 20 cigarettes as compared to $8.00 for government taxed cigarettes. This happens with absolutely no government inspection, testing, or review. In every case, these tobacco products are being sold without tax, robbing government of billions in revenue each year.

SOURCE National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT)

For further information: For further information: Media inquiries: John Perenack, (quick response), (416) 948-8722

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