The rise in consumption of contraband tobacco is the main reason behind the rapid increase of C-store closures across Canada. In 2009, 1 out of 10 convenience stores closed. Most of the closures occurred in Quebec, Ontario and the Atlantic provinces.
CCSA and Contraband Tobacco in the Media
Inside Canada's Underground Tobacco Industry. The National Post Five Part Series. Click here.
A selection of media coverage received from across Canada. Click here.
Contraband cigarette sales continue to rise. How are C-Stores dealing with this serious issue? On April 28, 2010 BNN spoke with Steve Tennant, CCSA Vice President. View interview: click here.
Every closure represents another community location being deprived of a vital retail service not to mention the loss of jobs and the huge tax losses sustained by the government.
This serious, illegal underground economic enterprise is eating away at our core businesses with devastating effect.
The facts speak for themselves: contraband cigarettes account for nearly 50% of all cigarettes sold in Ontario, and nearly one-third of all tobacco sales in Canada - a 98% increase since 2006. Contraband cigarettes have become especially popular among Canadian youth as they have easy access to the cheap tobacco. CCSA has studied the alarming occurrence of contraband tobacco at Canadian high schools for the past three years, and by their “butt studies” it is obvious that the distribution of illegal tobacco products is on the rise with youth. Contraband tobacco undermines the efforts of responsible retailers.
The OCSA Members have achieved a nearly 95% success rate in preventing minors from purchasing legitimate tobacco related products due to diligence put forth by store owners and employees with the We Expect ID program active in over 7,500 stores across Ontario. Our mission there is to never sell age-restricted products to minors. That includes ALL age restricted products in accordance with the law.
The contraband tobacco issue is getting worse. RCMP law enforcement reports indicate that over 100 different organized crime groups are involved in the smuggling and sale of illegal cigarettes. Police investigations find that the same criminal organizations that are involved in contraband tobacco are using the profits to smuggle other illegal products such as drugs and guns across the border into Canada.
The study on cigarette butts, as well as information on the campaign to reduce contraband to 10% can be found on www.10-2010contrabandobjective.com. Here you will find 10 Actions that you can encourage your local MP to take to fight contraband consumption in your area. The CCSA believes that if smuggling is reduced to 10 per cent, there will no longer be enough of a market to sustain the illegal trade.
CCSA is an active member of the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco.
The 2010 Contraband Objective
Contraband tobacco is one of the most serious issues facing convenience store operators in Canada. In 2009 the sale of contraband tobacco product caused losses of 2.5 billion in sales or $260 million in profits for convenience store operators. They also impact directly on government tax revenues.
In 2009 Canada saw the loss of 2300 convenience stores and contraband tobacco sales losses were a major contributor.
Tobacco products have been impeded by many factors. The health issue is one and legislated fixturing display cover-ups have contributed strongly to not promote sales in C-Stores. This with the impact of the nationwide We Expect ID campaign to not sell ANY age-restricted product to minors is also having significant effect.
There are over 4-million people aged 15-25 in Canada today - roughly 12% of the total population.
As part of the 10%-2010 Contraband Objective Campaign led by the Canadian Convenience Stores Association (CCSA) the organization has embarked on a nationwide media awareness campaign which has met with good success.
The objective is to reduce contraband sales to 10% of tobacco product sales by the end of 2010.
The campaign includes a major effort to gain support from federal members of Parliament in all ridings to help eradicate the problem in local communities. A key component has been to raise the awareness of the numbers of minors being able to purchase these illegal products.
Convenience store operators are united in working to reduce this significant problem and are working with police forces, government agencies and the media in every way. The impact of providing cheap cigarettes daily by criminals to a young, malleable market is happening literally in the backyards of communities. Our efforts are focused towards eradicating the smuggler's market and this illegal trade.
Studies on cigarette butts as well as leaflets to MPs can be downloaded from the website which is devoted to this campaign act www.10-2010contrabandobjective.com.