Fight back against contraband cigarettes
Why we need action
Contraband is major threat to tobacco control and public health. Because of its low cost, contraband encourages the initiation of smoking, including among youth, and discourages current smokers from quitting.
What is tobacco contraband?
"Tobacco contraband" is any tobacco product sold without all required taxes included in the price. Examples of contraband would include:
- illegally manufactured cigarettes distributed through illicit networks
- cigarettes manufactured outside of Canada and smuggled into Canada without Canadian taxes paid
- cigarettes intended for sale to status Natives on a First Nations reserve, but sold to non-Natives, or diverted for off-reserve sale
What are the key issues?
- Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in Canada.
- Tobacco causes about 30% of cancer deaths and 85% of lung cancer.
- Contraband provides access to cheap illegal cigarettes
- Contraband tobacco is costing federal, provincial and territorial governments significant lost revenue from tobacco taxes.
- Contraband is also a major crime issue for Canadians, linked to other illegal activity such as drugs and weapons trafficking and illegal immigration.
What is the Society fighting for on this issue?
Effective federal government action to bring the cigarette contraband situation under control, including:
- persuading the U.S. federal government to shut down illegal manufacturing operations on the U.S. side of Akwesasne
- prohibiting the supply to unlicensed manufacturers of raw materials and equipment used in making tobacco products
- revoking licences of manufacturers acting unlawfully
- introducing an effective package marking system known as ‘tracking and tracing’ to closely monitor tobacco shipments
- and establishing a minimum bond of at least $5 million in order to obtain a federal tobacco manufacturing licence, instead of the current extremely low $5000