Imperial Tobacco - Canada Head - Canada growing crisis of illicit tobacco sales..

June 3, 2009 - This is another in a series of presentations given by Benjamin Kemball, president and CEO of on the subject illicit (illegal, contraband) tobacco sales. He believes that Canada has lost its leadership in tobacco control because provincial and federal governments have ignored the growing crisis of illegal tobacco sales, according to Imperial Tobacco Canada.

Kemball called for as a first step would be to bring everyone involved to the table, from the health communities to the First Nations communities (Collectively, First Nations, Inuit, and M├ętis peoples constitute Canada's Aboriginal peoples, indigenous peoples or first peoples). He believes the road to solving the growth of illegal tobacco sales begins with the prime minister mandating a high-level ministerial appointee to take charge of the problem, enforce the current laws, control raw material and machinery. However, none of this will work if the First Nation communities are not invited to be at the table to help shape the solutions.

It is estimated that more than 30 percent of cigarettes purchased in Canada are illicit, and that this number reaches 40 percent in Quebec and 50 percent in Ontario. Royal Canadian Mounted Police seizures have found that the reach of illicit tobacco is spreading outside its traditional strongholds of Quebec and Ontario to other provinces; that networks are becoming more sophisticated; and that shipments are getting bigger.

Imperial says it believes that effective and enforceable tobacco control regulations are necessary due to the health risks associated with tobacco. The rampant growth of illegal cigarettes: that are falling into the hands of young people at pocket money prices; that have no government mandated warnings or other health information; that are manufactured in unlawful factories with no government oversight and no reporting of ingredients or product testing; all these conditions characterize illicit/contraband manufacture and sales.

We wonder if Imperial is diverting attention away from possible increases tobacco taxes or suits brought against tobacco companies.

Reference: Illicit trade passes half-share mark in Ontario, Tobacco Reporter, 6/2/2009.
Jun 2, 2009

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