NCACT welcomes Quebec government's tabling of bill to fight contraband tobacco..

October 30, 2009 - The National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco (NCACT) welcomed the Quebec government's tabling of a bill to fight contraband tobacco. Bill 59 significantly increases the powers of provincial and municipal police to search, seize and fine anyone carrying illegal cigarettes in a car. Municipalities will be allowed to keep revenue from these fines.

"Giving police more powers to deal with contraband tobacco is a theme we've been talking about for the past several months and we're pleased that the Government of Quebec has decided to take this action," said Gary Grant, Spokesperson for the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco and retired Staff Superintendent of the Toronto Police Service. "With this bill, Quebec becomes the first jurisdiction in Canada to act in a meaningful way to fight contraband tobacco and the organized crime groups behind its distribution and sale. It's finally some real progress and we call upon government leaders at Queen's Park and on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to take similar action."

Contraband tobacco is a major problem in central Canada and one of the most vulnerable populations - our kids - is at risk because of illegal cigarettes. A recent study by the NCACT and Canadian Convenience Stores Association of Ontario and Quebec high schools found that 30% of the cigarette butts found around Ontario schools and 45% at Quebec schools were contraband tobacco.

Studies have also shown the prevalence of contraband tobacco is rapidly growing in Canada - particularly in Ontario and Quebec. In both provinces, almost half of all cigarettes being sold are illegal - circumventing all government restrictions on the responsible sale of tobacco products.

"We're pleased the Quebec government has decided to act - this is certainly a step in the right direction," added Dave Bryans, President of the Canadian Convenience Stores Association and founding member of the NCACT. "But now is the time for others to join suit. Parents and politicians need to know that efforts to keep kids from smoking are seriously at risk because of contraband tobacco. It is short-circuiting government's anti-smoking efforts - tobacco tax policy, health warnings, display bans, mandatory ID checks, government anti-smoking initiatives - they're all going up in smoke because of the wide availability of illegal cigarettes.

Reference: National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco applauds Government of Quebec's move to get tough on contraband tobacco Coalition urges Federal government and Province of Ontario to take similar action,, 10/29/2009.

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