Ontario Fights Contraband Cigarettes

“Cigarette butt studies conducted in London, Ontario show the consumption of contraband cigarettes at 20% and at local high schools, as many as 35% of cigarettes smoked by youth were illegal,” says CEO of OCSA.

The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) is pleased to recognize the work and support of all members of the London City Council in passing a motion against contraband tobacco at a city council meeting held Tuesday, June 26.

The motion requested that the Mayor of London write a letter encouraging the Ontario Minister of Finance to follow through on promises to increase resources in the fight against contraband tobacco.

Many note that harsh cigarette laws in Canada have contributed to a booming black market for cigarettes there, something some retailers fear could also become a reality in the U.S. Dave Bryans, CEO of OCSA, previously told CSD he attributed the rise in contraband cigarettes in Canada to the rise in tax increases on cigarettes that Canada has seen over the past four years, as well as a ban on flavored cigars.

“Cigarette butt studies conducted in London show the consumption of contraband cigarettes at 20% and at local high schools, as many as 35% of cigarettes smoked by youth were illegal,” said Bryans. “We are extremely pleased London has taken this step in the right direction and the OCSA will continue to offer its support to any municipality who join the fight against contraband tobacco.” Recent seizures in 2012 further illustrate that this problem is growing not only in London, but across Ontario.

London area retailers and members of the OCSA said they look forward to seeing a reduction of contraband products following the recent commitments in the Ontario budget.

“As the government looks to follow through on Budget commitments to stop contraband tobacco, support from all levels of government will be critical in helping protect the safety of our communities, and to ensuring that age-restricted products don’t wind up in the hands of Ontario’s young people,” said Bryans.

The Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA) represents more than 7,000 convenience store operators throughout the province who are committed to Responsible Community Retailing. More than three million people visit convenience stores in communities across Ontario every day.

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