Sales of illegal tobacco in New Brunswick remain high
New Brunswickers support tougher legislation
Moncton, July 31st, 2014: Ongoing research commissioned by the Atlantic Convenience Stores Association continues to show that millions of illegal cigarettes are being sold in New Brunswick.
“Three studies done in June and September last year and June this year show an average presence of illegal tobacco of 20 percent,” says Mike Hammoud, president of the association. “The most recent study this year showed an average presence of illegal tobacco of 22 percent.”
The research findings are based on a “butt study” technique conducted by NIRIC, an independent, Montreal-based research firm. In the most recent study, NIRIC collected and analyzed almost 4,000 cigarette butts obtained in late May/early June from 27 locations throughout New Brunswick. Overall findings are considered to be accurate to within 1.8 percentage points 19 times out of 20.
Hammoud says that a baggie of 200 illegal cigarettes represents about $45 in provincial taxes if those cigarettes were sold legally: “We have a situation here where millions of dollars in profits are going to organized crime from the sale of illegal tobacco and the provincial government is losing millions of dollars in tax revenue.”
In a recent Corporate Research poll commissioned by the Atlantic Convenience Stores Association, 68 percent of the adults polled in New Brunswick said that it was important or very important that the provincial government enact tougher legislation to reduce the availability of illegal tobacco.
“It is very concerning when you see hospitals that are in the top ten categories for illegal contraband,” said Mike Jeffrey, a convenience store retailer at Berry Mills Shell in Moncton. “ It makes you wonder where the steady supply is coming from.”
“Enforcement agencies say that the sale of illegal tobacco in the Maritimes is increasing,” says Mike Hammoud, President of the ACSA “That cancels out a lot of the resources going into Health care and Education. We need to get tougher with the criminals selling illegal tobacco.”
“These Central Canadian organized crime groups are also shipping, guns and hard illegal drugs into New Brunswick. It’s time that we toughen up the penalties for trafficking. The good news is when penalties get tougher, like they have in the Province of Quebec, organized crime shipments will drop.”
About the Atlantic Convenience Stores Association
The Atlantic Convenience Stores Association is a not-for-profit organization representing the business interests of Atlantic Canada’s convenience store industry. The mission of the association is to help ensure an economically viable and sustainable business environment for members by serving the best interests of Atlantic Canada’s convenience store operators and consumers alike through advocacy, advice, education and training. The Atlantic Convenience Stores Association’s membership includes nearly 2,000 convenience stores in the four Atlantic provinces, representing two-thirds of the industry’s locations.
Steve Dunne, Atlantic Convenience Stores Association