Illegal cigarettes are being sold in our own neighbourhoods and many of us don’t realize the consequences of those sales. Millions of dollars in profits on illegal cigarettes are directly funding organized crime and contributing to guns and drug trafficking on our streets. It’s got to stop. We need to speak out and we need to stop the sale of illegal cigarettes in Ontario. It starts with your help to get there.
According to the RCMP, over 175 organized crime groups are involved in the illegal tobacco market in Canada. And 74% of these groups were also involved in drug trafficking and/or weapons trafficking.
The sale of these illegal cigarettes is a highly profitable activity for gangs and organized crime rings. The profits from illegal tobacco products are funding criminal activities such as drug and gun trafficking.
It’s estimated that the gross profit (not revenue, profit) after producers and traffickers’ take their cut is $75 million dollars annually going directly to criminal organizations in Canada.
About 1 in 3 cigarettes purchased in Ontario are illegal cigarettes.
Given past estimates of annual consumption, that could mean as many as 3 billion cigarettes consumed in Ontario are illegal – the equivalent of almost 15 million cartons.
The RCMP believes there are over 50 illegal factories across Ontario and Quebec. These factories can produce between 3,000 to 10,000 cigarettes per minute - or 50 cartons’ worth in three minutes.
According to a 2013 National Post feature, the production, distribution and sale of illegal cigarettes in Canada has grown in recent years.
If you see illegal tobacco products or people selling illegal tobacco products, call Crime Stoppers
at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477)
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