Tories bolster assault on tobacco smuggling -

Tories bolster assault on tobacco smuggling


OTTAWA – The federal government is creating a new anti-contraband police task force to combat illegal tobacco sales, introducing legislation Tuesday to impose minimum sentences for those caught trafficking in smuggled smokes.

A new 50-officer RCMP unit will target contraband tobacco smugglers.

Criminal gangs should not be able to benefit from illegal tobacco sales while Canadians pay the price through higher health care costs, said Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.

“Tobacco trafficking is a serious threat to the public safety of Canadians, our communities and our economy,” Toews told a news conference.

“Contraband tobacco fuels the growth of organized criminal networks, contributing to the increased availability of illegal drugs and guns in our communities.”

The RCMP unit would go after organized crime groups and anyone who sells, transports or is in possession of contraband tobacco.

Legislation introduced in the Senate would create a new Criminal Code offence for trafficking in contraband.

If the bill becomes law, penalties would range from six months behind bars for a first offence to five years in jail for committing an indictable offence.

Repeat offenders would also receive mandatory minimum penalties of between 90 and 180 days incarceration when high volumes of illegal tobacco products are involved.

The government defines “high volume” as more than 10,000 cigarettes or 10 kilograms of other tobacco products.

Having less contraband tobacco on the streets means a reduced chance that young people will take up smoking, said Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq.

“Baggies of cheap, illegal tobacco can make it easier for children and teens to get cigarettes into their hands and start smoking, which obviously has a negative impact on their health,” Aglukkaq said.

“There is no place for contraband tobacco in our communities.”

The National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco applauded the measures and urged the Harper Conservatives to work with other levels of government to combat tobacco smuggling.

“We are pleased to see the federal government following through on its campaign commitment to make contraband tobacco a priority, as illegal cigarettes negatively impact communities across the country,” coalition spokesman Gary Grant said in a statement.

“But it’s important to remember that this is a problem that crosses political and departmental boundaries.”

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Tories bolster assault on tobacco smuggling

  1. “Criminal gangs should not be able to benefit from illegal tobacco sales
    while Canadians pay the price through higher health care costs, said
    Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.”

    It has been proven time and time again that smokers, and also those with obesity, DO NOT increase health care costs. Why? Because they die sooner! A smoker who dies at 65 will cost the health care system far less than someone who lives to 90. Don’t take my word for it, do a 10 second search on the subject to confirm what I am saying yourself.

    The real reason the government is cracking down is because they are losing tax money, period. They don’t want people to quit. I was a pack a day smoker for 20 years and was able to quit in a few days by switching to e-cigarettes.

    When the government found out about e-cigs, which contain no harmful chemicals and uses water vapor and nicotine, did they rejoice at the fact that now millions can easily quit smoking? No, they banned them! Imagine the billions of dollars they would lose if half the country quit in one year?

    I have personally helped 10 people quit smoking by using e-cigs and I no longer have to use them myself. The government would rather people buy expensive patches and gum that don’t work so they can make it look like they are trying to help, but it’s really just another money making scheme.

    • The tobacco growing industry here in Canada, which is centered in southern Ontario, has been cut back to a fraction of what it was in the past. Revenues from the sale of cigarettes have been steadily cut back as a result. Your right that the federal government has controlled the sale of cigarettes because they were able to tax the hell out it. But when criminal gangs move in sometimes the profits from illegal sale of cigarettes go towards the trafficking of other severely addictive drugs/substances, or get sent directly to the Middle East where they fund the operations of al-qaeda and Taliban insurgents. There is enough crime in Canada already. Do we need more? Do you want criminals in your neighborhood?

  2. Two years ago the health minister LEona A. got a grant of three millions bucks to work on a tobacco plan, to do exactly that, but spent the money to create these pictures on the packs of cigarettes. Wonder what the gov would say, if co.’s advertised their products on their property

  3. 17 o/o of Canadians smoke,
    65 o/o are either overweight or obese,
    there should be policing towards unhealthy “processed / packaged / junk / fast food,”