Police report that 37% of all tobacco now being sold is un-taxed and illegal

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 19th, 2019



Anyone buying illegal tobacco products is funding organized crime.

Cigarette profits aThat’s the message Crime Stoppers of Halton is delivering to the public through a promotional campaign to help combat the distribution of illegally manufactured cigarettes.

The initiative is also part of a campaign by several Crime Stoppers programs to create awareness and stop the sale of contraband tobacco products across the Greater Toronto Area.

“We want people to know they are helping finance organized crime activity such as drug smuggling, gun running and human trafficking,” said Detective Constable Jodi Richmond, police coordinator of Halton Crime Stoppers. “A lot of this criminal activity is organized by outlaw motorcycle gangs and the cost to taxpayers runs into the billions of dollars.”

Jodi Thomson Crime StoppersRichmond also said an increasing number of fire deaths in Ontario are now being blamed on illegal cigarettes which are made without self-extinguishing safeguards.

“So not only are people who buy contraband cigarettes helping organized crime to thrive, but they are also putting lives at risk,” she said. “It’s definitely not a victimless crime.”

Dave Bryans, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association said “The Ontario Convenience Stores are pleased to stand with Halton Crime Stoppers in fight against contraband tobacco that is infiltrating every community in Ontario.

“Today we see contraband reaching epidemic proportions at 37% of all tobacco now being untaxed and illegal with highs in Northern Ontario of 65% +. We are hoping the new PC Government will work with Crime Stoppers and the Convenience Store sector to address this issue and look for solutions to minimize the delivery system in Ontario.”

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1 comment to Police report that 37% of all tobacco now being sold is un-taxed and illegal

  • Mike D

    Seems to me that this is an excellent example of simple economics. When a product is taxed beyond its market and perceived value for social health reasons someone will take the opportunity to fill the void and provide the product at a more market-based price point.

    Policy makers PLEASE be aware of this phenomenon when planning out recreational marijuana roll-out. If you want to eliminate the illegal aspects of this trade already embedded in the system you MUST price the govt product competitively.