Canadian Young Smokers Are in Favor of Illegal Cigarettes


The great number of young Canadian smokers is familiar with illegal market of tobacco cigarettes and some of them are even in favor of their sale. And they are skeptical about government announcement that smuggled cigarettes are linked to organized criminal activity. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) created a research team to examine a focus group made of 64 smokers in their teens and early 20s. What the research team found out implies the government's message will be a tough sell. Among 16 to 24 years smokers, the awareness of illegal tobacco products is rather increased.

The majority of focus group participants could gladly describe their taste and packing and perfectly knew where to buy them. It was evident that the major part of participants had bought and smoked illicit tobacco products. "I was surprised that, most of them didn't think that contraband cigarettes might be dangerous for their health. Thought all participants knew that these cigarettes are illicit, they believed that these cigs are so common and they do not have to worry about something. And almost all didn't oppose their sale," tag cloud
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stated the researchers.

The majority of them declared that they buy illicit cigarettes because they are cheaper than legal ones. For instance a carton of cheap cigarettes costs between $70 and $106 in Canada, but a carton of contraband cigarettes can be bought for $10 or even less. Around 30% of cigarettes bought in Canada are purchased illicitly. Only in Ontario and Quebec, the half of all tobacco products is illicit.

Last year, more than 350,000 cartons of illicit tobacco products were confiscated by police- almost 73.1 million cigarettes. The trade of smuggled tobacco products is costing governments hundreds of millions of dollars. But federal government is focused on the effect on public safety. According to RCMP estimates about 175 organized criminal groups were implicated in the illegal cigarette trade in Canada last year. Recently, when Keith Ashfield, the minister of revenue, spoke about the plans for the advertisement campaign he declared that would "find the relation between tobacco smuggling and organized crime." Young smokers in the focus group were not buying it, according to the research. They even could not understand how buying smuggled cigarettes brings to such things as organized crime, drugs, guns and makes their neighborhoods insecure. Participants of the focus group were shown several campaign themes, and asked for their opinions. They gave preference to one theme, which was focusing on how smuggled tobacco products lead to violence. Although the given research findings are statistically characteristical, they were rather expressive in order to make CRA review its attitude. The advertising campaign that was planned for the last fall is still under the development.