Magazine d'affaires

Info-Bars

Deviens fan sur Facebook

Smuggling – A true blight on society

After decades of struggle against tobacco smuggling, a third of cigarettes consumed in Quebec still escape government control. For our society this illegal activity is far more permissive than just a loss of revenue for governments. Contaminated products and unfair competition are othernegative aspects of this scourge.

Contraband cigarettes are perhaps less expensive than cigarettes purchased in store, but they may leave a nasty aftertaste because they may contain nameless substances. Often these illegal cigarettes are manufactured in sheds and garages underground. It is not unusual that we find insect residues or substances that should not be found in the production of cigarettes.

Laboratory tests conducted by the RCMP have also detected traces of mold from the tobacco of those cigarettes.

They are manufactured anywhere and free of government regulations imposed on the cigarette industry, which is one of the most regulated industries in Canada.

The level of toxins in illegal cigarettes is higher than in those produced legally in Canada, so much more harmful to the health of consumers.

Home smuggling

The market for contraband cigarettes has been refined, now it is no longer necessary to travel to purchase smuggled cigarettes because traffickers deliver them to your home. The speed of delivery and price are blue chip sales arguments.

To disseminate information, the smugglers distribute business cards in mailboxes, as mentioned recently during a report from the CBC.

The cost of a carton of 200 cigarettes is approximately $25, about a third of the price found in stores. Unfortunately, to save a few dollars, some people are willing to allow a criminal to enter their home.

Teenagers, a target of choice

The smugglers looking for big profits have no qualms about selling their products to teenagers, as opposed to the traditional market in Quebec that is highly regulated and prevents retailers from selling to minors.

As a result, retailers are subject to heavy fines if found breaching this law by inspectors from the Ministry for Health and Social Services of Quebec. They even usebuyers that are minors to test the system.

The Quebec Association of Convenience Stores (ACDA) is conducting a unique three–year study to show that juveniles are likely to smoke smuggled cigarettes. The study sends people to collect cigarette butts around schools to determine their origin, assuming that these cigarettes were consumed by students. Each cigarette butt can qualify cigarette smoke: legal, illegal or unknown. No less than 14,000 cigarette butts have been collected from around75 schools from all corners of Quebec. Excluding those whose origin is unknown to ACDA investigators,approximately 45% or 11,600 butts collected are of illegal origin or contraband cigarettes.

Smugglers are often linked to gangs. They are only one step away from providing teenagers with other products, such as illegal drugs.

Criminal groups: more and more present

Organized criminal groups increasingly dip into cigarette smuggling, a lucrative business. According to RCMP investigators, hundreds of criminal organizations smuggle cigarettes across the country to launder money or increase their income. These groups also use money from cigarette smuggling to buy weapons, develop networks of prostitution or to acquire legitimate businesses, like bars.

The extent of illegal trade is such that the profits from smuggling cigarettes now rival those of drugs, according to some experts.

According to police, criminal gangs manage to smuggle a large proportion of cigarettes into Canada from the United States. As is the case for several years, the bulk of traffic is in the area of St. Laurent central valley.

Most factories supplying tobacco are located in Canada and the United States. It may soon be challenged by China, one of the largest exporters in the world.

According to recent estimates, the federal treasury loses $2 billion annually in revenue because of smuggling, and Quebec is losing approximately $300 million each year.

The scourge of cigarette smuggling has a negative effect on small businesses, our youth and society in general. The fight against smuggling should be an extreme priority for the Government of Quebec.

By Éric Côté

Source: Journal de Montréal, La Presse

 

Par: admin

Ajoutez votre commentaire

( votre couriel ne sera pas affiché sur le site web )

* Champs obligatoires