Last year I shared a blog post about smoking and the challenges the illegal tobacco trade has had on our country. I shared my own personal experience as a former smoker but more importantly, I shared information about illegal tobacco and the ties it has to organized crime. I stated that illegal tobacco puts guns in the hands of criminals in Canada. Now I’m back with an update on the program and to reinforce this important message. First, take a look at this video.

Earlier this year, a massive international investigation in Quebec resulted in the seizure of enough illegal tobacco to make 105 million illegal cigarettes, along with other illegal drugs. 60 people with ties to organized crime and gang activity were arrested. According to the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), the contraband tobacco was bought in the U.S. and illegally brought into Canada through the border crossings at Lacolle, Landsdowne and Forte Erie to be sold on the reserves.

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Ontario is at the center of the illegal tobacco problem in Canada. Country wide, 1 in 10 purchased tobacco products is illegal. In Ontario, it is one third. The annual profits from illegal tobacco is approximately $75 million. That number is astronomical, and it’s funding illegal weapons and organized crime in our country. The RCMP estimate that there are about 175 criminal gangs that use illegal tobacco to fund their other illegal activities, including guns, drugs and human smuggling.

Our high school students are unknowingly contributing to the problem, since 43% of the cigarettes they smoke are purchased illegally. We can make a change by focusing our efforts on kids and teenagers.

Here’s what we can do. Learn more about the facts linking organized crime to the sale of illegal tobacco. StopIllegalTobacco.ca, a NCACT website, is a great place to start. You can also join the discussion on Twitter by using the hashtag #StopIllegalTobacco.

When we know better, we do better… and I believe that is true for kids as well. If they understand the true outcome of their actions, maybe they will think twice about funding organized crime in Canada.

Sheri

Sheri

Influencer at Kidsumers
Sheri McDonald is a family lifestyle blogger who has been sharing her parenting and travel adventures online for the past eight years. You can find her discovering the world with her children when she's not at home enjoying a good book.
Sheri

@kidsumers

Lifestyle Blogger. Traveler. Writer. Social Media Marketer. @SunwingVacay #Kidcations Expert Panel. Member of ITWA @PTBAssoc IG: familyenroute
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