May 30, 2010 - The Canadian government says it's ratcheting up its efforts to combat contraband (counterfeit, illegal, illicit, smuggling, contraband) smokes. The feds announced a series of new initiatives Friday, May 28th on the heels of a lashing from advocacy groups who say they haven't done enough.
National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco is giving the federal government failing grades in its efforts to snuff out the trade in illegal smokes. The watch dog group says illegal cigarettes are pouring into Canada and the feds aren't doing enough to stem the flow. Coalition spokesman Gary Grant, a retired Toronto cop, says Ottawa gets a D grade overall for its efforts. He says the government rates an F for failing to keep illegal smokes out of the hands of children, and an F for failing to educate the public about the dangers of the contraband trade.
He says cigarette smuggling finances organized crime, which uses the profits to move drugs, guns and even people across the border. The smuggling costs the country more than $2.4-billion a year in lost taxes, he says. Mr. Grant says the real worry is youngsters. Almost half the cigarettes smoked in Ontario are contraband. The figure for Quebec is 40 per cent.
In addition to lost taxes, the smuggling is hurting neighbourhood convenience stores that rely on cigarette sales. (Group says Ottawa isn’t doing enough to halt illegal cigarette trade National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco says illegal smokes are pouring into Canada, The Canadian Press, The Globe and Mail, 5/26/2010).
Other directly related recent news briefs:
Canada - even federal servants smoke illegal cigarettes.., 5/20/2010.
Canada - contraband cigarettes on the rise in Western Canada..
Many more news briefs concerned with Canada - and illegal cigarettes - see below..
Those new measures include creating an Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) -led unit dedicated to fighting contraband tobacco. The Canada Border Services Agency is also establishing a sniffer-dog service in Montreal and Vancouver, areas that have the highest contraband activity. There will also be an advertising campaign to raise awareness of the impact of buying illegal smokes.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews says the additional initiatives should help stem the flow of contraband.
The numbers show that police are seizing more and more of the illegal smokes. According to 2009 RCMP statistics, 975,000 cartons of illegal cigarettes were seized across the country, up slightly from 965,000 cartons in 2008. (E.G., British Columbia (B.C.), Canada - largest counterfeit tobacco seizure..
Friday's announcements come from $20 million set aside in by the Minister of National Revenue to combat contraband -- money from a lucrative settlement with two major Canadian tobacco companies in July 2008 over smuggling. (Canada tobacco firms admit aiding smuggling..)
The initiatives are in addition to a task force on illegal smokes created in May 2008 and a recent agreement with the U.S. to keep a closer watch on shared waterways.
Reference: Gov't plans to fight contraband tobacco trade, The Canadian Press, 5/28/2010.
Canada - cigarette smuggling related briefs:
Canada - even federal servants smoke illegal cigarettes..;
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...