Youth Contraband Tobacco Study 2009
… confirms that teen smokers are getting hooked on contraband cigarettes in significant numbers. These cheap and easy-to-get illegal cigarettes are being smuggled and sold throughout Canada in record numbers and quietly undermining…
A new study commissioned by the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco ( NCACT) confirms that teen smokers are getting hooked on contraband cigarettes in significant 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 third year running, this study shows that youth 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 widespread among kids.
In Cornwall, cigarette butts were collected from around five high schools and analysis revealed 38 percent of the cigarette butts collected were illegal. These results were equal to the survey done in 2008 which also showed the rate of contraband around Cornwall high schools at 38 percent. Collections for the 2009 study were done around the following schools in Cornwall: La Citadelle, 510 McConnell Ave.; Ecole L’Heritage 1111 Montreal Rd.; T. R. Leger Windmill Point, 2 Belmont St.; St. Joseph’s 1500 Cumberland St.; Cornwall Collegiate Vocational School 437 Sydney St.
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 for a pack of 20 cigarettes as compared to $ 8 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.