Quebec - push to stop trade in illicit cigarettes..

October 30, 2009 - The Quebec government on Wednesday, October 28th unveiled a push to stop trade in illicit (illegal, contraband, black market) cigarettes, including stiffer fines and a moratorium on manufacturing permits. The bill, introduced by provincial Revenue Minister Robert Dutil also gives more power to police, notably municipal organizations, to arrest, fine or charge producers, distributors and consumers of illegal cigarettes.

"This is probably the most important element," Dutil told reporters Wednesday.

Dutil: About 30 percent of cigarettes smoked in Quebec are contraband and the Quebec government is losing about $300 million a year in taxes. He blamed organized crime for most of the illicit trade, but noted natives also are involved.

The minister said crackdowns will take place on native reserves if needed, despite their claims they have the right to trade tobacco. "We will work, we work actually with natives on that aspect. It has happened (in the past) that we intervened alongside natives on reserves," he said.

Reference: Quebec to crack down on contraband tobacco, Monteral Gazette - Canwest News Service, 10/28/2009.

Canada - cigarette smuggling related briefs:
Canada Ontario/Quebec - make it illegal for minors to possess tobacco products..;
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..;
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Imperial Tobacco Survey - Canadian Illegal Tobacco Trade..;
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