May 20, 2010 - Monday, May 17th in Ottawa, the Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA) released a study showing that federal civil servants are as guilty as anyone of buying smuggled (illegal, illicit, contraband) cigarettes. Twenty-two percent of cigarettes smoked by employees of the Supreme Court of Canada were contraband, as were 32% of those smoked by Finance Ministry workers.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) estimate that one in three cigarettes smoked in Canada are smuggled, including nearly half of those smoked in Ontario and Quebec. Governments - federal and provincial - are losing about $2.5 billion annually in tax revenue.Anyone wondering why governments work so hard to get smokers to quit, need only look at public revenues from cigarette sales to see why no government has the courage to ban smoking outright. Ottawa and the provinces make more than $5 billion a year from tobacco taxes.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out why: A legal carton of cigarettes costs $80 to $90 dollars; a smuggled carton is just $6 to $10. If someone offered you a $3,000 leather couch for $300 or a $1 litre of gas for 10 cents, it would be as hard to turn them down as it is for a smoker to resist cigarettes at 90% off the retail price.
The Mackenzie Institute, [a Toronto think-tank] estimates that 70% of illegal cigarettes enter Canada through First Nations reserves that border the United States along the St. Lawrence in Ontario and Quebec. Of the estimated 50 illegal cigarette factories in Canada, nearly all are on-reserve, too.
If governments want to assist the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco, the CCSA and the tobacco industry - all of whom want the illegal trade stopped - they will have to be bolder than they have shown themselves willing to be to date.
Reference: Lorne Gunter: Civil servants love illegal smokes too, National Post Editor, 5/20/2010.
Canada - cigarette smuggling related briefs:
Canada - tobacco firms settle cigarette smuggling case..;
Ontario - NO new measures to curb youth smoking..;
Ontario - don't cut provincial tobacco taxes to try to reduce contraband tobacco traffic..;
Canada - nearly one in five packs of cigarettes smoked by Canadian teen smokers are contraband products..;
Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey - 2008..;
Ontario, Canada - illegal cigarettes are everywhere..;
Canada - half of smokers have tried to quit..;
Canada - illegal cigarette trade - Imperial Tobacco President Kemball comments..;
Canada - Imperial Tobacco Head - Illegal Cigarettes..;
Imperial Tobacco - Canada Head - Canada growing crisis of illicit tobacco sales..; Imperial Canada - stop illegal tobacco sales rather than raisng tax on tobacco..; Canada - will higher tobacco prices lead to increase in illicit cigarettes..;
Canada - to launch an advertising campaign on the problem of tobacco smuggling..;
Nova Scotia - buying smuggled tobacco you encourage organized crime..; Ontario Businessmen - want government to crack down on illegal cigarettes..;
Imperial Tobacco Canada - slow illegal cigarettes/sue tobacco companies..;
As tobacco prices rise - increase in illegal cigarette trafficing..; Canada - Obama visit - help STOP cigarette smuggling from U.S..;
Canada economic recession losing billions in unpaid tobacco taxes..;
Canada - Police arrest 46 in tobacco crackdown..;
Imperial Tobacco Survey - Canadian Illegal Tobacco Trade..;
Canada - Introduction of Tobacco Stamp to combat contraband...