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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Smuggled smokes plaguing highschools

It seems that a plague of smuggled (or unregulated production)cigarettes are impacting high school campuses in both Ontario and Quebec.

From the Star today

I remember in the late 80s when cheap cigarettes and those lovely 60oz bottles of cheap no name booze were coming out of Cornwall, it was quite the rage for awhile. Well it seems the smokes at least have made a come back, however unlike the 80s, they are now readily available to high school students!

A study of discarded cigarette butts around schools shows that illegal cigarettes are quite common and represent a large proportion of those smoked by students. The highest Ontario percentages of 50% and 47% were found in Newmarket and Aurora school yards(my home turf). While our area seems to be a hot spot for the problem it is prevalent in both Ontario and Quebec with provincial averages of 24% and 35%.

This is not only a taxation issue, these cigarettes have not been tested by the government to see what's in them. This seems like a kinda disingenuous complaint, if the Gov aren't that concerned about the toxins in legal ones how much worse can the illegal ones be, still it is a concern. There is also the issue that most students at high schools are not old enough to buy or smoke cigarettes in the first place and with the discount prices reported any kid can afford to start the habit.

The funny think about his study, it was funded by the Canadian convenience store association. Since they are not supposed to be selling to youth either why are their shorts all in a knot? Easy, they are losing out on their illegal sales to minors and want something done to about it. If the problem was not so serious it would make you laugh, "Oh big law enforcement people, please save our illegal death trade buy shutting down their illegal death trade" Someone needs a slap to the back of the head.

For any of my Newmarket Aurora readers, (both of you) you should put the squeeze on your children or even your friend's children and report what you find to York Region Police. If you say "so what it's only cigarettes" then consider, your kids are possibly in contact with criminals who don't mind selling illegal contraband; what else is in that car trunk?Recommend this Post

1 comment:

GreenDude said...

Man, I'm such a square. Teenagers have a line on cheap smokes, and I keep paying full freight at Macs!

Seriously though, this is exactly what happened just prior to the first election of M. Chr├ętien. Smokes were about $7 a pack and the black market trade was huge. Once in power, the Libs reduced taxes, the price went down to $3.50 and the black market trade all but dried up.

Name brand smokes are about $9 a pack these days so the black market was bound to show up again. Apparently this is one area in which higher prices don't quite lead to the "desired" effect of reducing usage.