british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2009 - Tackling illicit trade in Canada


Every year 13 billion illegal cigarettes flood unstopped into Canada and one third of the cigarette market is illegal.

Awareness is low among politicians and decision-makers about the extent of the problem and its social consequences and there has been little pressure for governments to act.

In 2009, Imperial Tobacco Canada embarked on a coordinated campaign to engage media, government officials, First Nations representatives, retailer organisations, chambers of commerce, law enforcement and foreign officials to educate and inform stakeholders and encourage action by government.

The company took part in over 50 media interviews in 2009, complemented by press releases, research results and other advocacy materials. Trade marketing representatives are also provided with information to use in their conversations with retailers and a company team works both to research the size and impact of the problem and to develop workable solutions that can be advocated during meetings with government.

Increased awareness has turned into action. In June and October, Ontario and Quebec, the country’s two largest provinces, enacted legislation to make it more difficult for the criminals who traffic illegal cigarettes to operate. Imperial Tobacco Canada will continue to mobilise resources to join forces with its stakeholders to tackle the issue of illicit trade.