Contraband tobacco is being called a ‘growing threat’ in the province.
Yesterday Gary Grant, a spokeman for the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco, said that more than half the cigarettes purchased in northern Ontario are contraband, compared with one-third of the cigarettes sold across the province. Grant was speaking at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario Conference in Ottawa where he also said that this tobacco issue is an epidemic that’s plaguing northern communities.
The RCMP has identified criminal gangs that profit from the trade and Grant suggests community leaders need to encourage action to stop this threat. Any efforts to reduce smoking rates in Ontario can’t work as long as residents of the province have easy access to cheap, unregulated cigarettes.