In a previous post – Lighting a Cigarette, Loading a Gun – I shared information on the production and sale of contraband cigarettes in Ontario and Quebec. In fact, with over 50 illegal factories across the two provinces, potentially 10,000 illegal cigarettes can be produced every minute.
For those thinking, “So what? I don’t smoke!” – Here’s why we all need to pay attention:
– The size of the illegal tobacco market in Ontario could be equivalent to 3 billion illegal cigarettes (15 million cartons).
– Estimated gross profit from illegal tobacco is $75 million dollars annually.
– The highly profitable sale of illegal cigarettes funds criminal activities, including drug and gun trafficking benefiting approximately 175 organized crime groups and gangs in Canada (nearly half of which are based in central Canada).
– Approximately 1 in 3 cigarettes purchased in Ontario are illegal, compared to an average of 1 in 10 in other provinces. …