british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2010 - Tackling illicit trade in Canada

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Sustainability Report 2010

In mid-2009, illicit tobacco trade in Canada was high, exceeding 30 per cent of the cigarette market nationally and over 40 per cent in Quebec and Ontario. As a result of action by both government agencies and the tobacco industry, these rates had fallen by the end of 2010.

Actions taken included:

  • The Federal Government announced anti-contraband measures in May 2010, including increased security and an additional C$20 million (£12.6 million) to fight illicit trade.
  • Awareness was raised among the public of the negative social impacts of illicit tobacco products.
  • New legislation was introduced in Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan to fight against illegal tobacco sales. In addition, the Federal Government announced measures to fight contraband in May 2010.
  • Increased enforcement activities resulted in a higher number of seizures of contraband tobacco products.

For the past two years, Imperial Tobacco Canada ran a campaign calling for government action to address the issue of illicit trade. The campaign was based on research demonstrating the magnitude of the problem. It included partnerships with third parties to show the social impacts, advertising and active engagement with the media.

The actions that government agencies have now taken have resulted in progress in reducing the level of illicit trade. For example, in Quebec, the market share held by illicit cigarettes has dropped from an estimated 40 per cent in 2008 to around 17 per cent in 2010; in Ontario over the same period, illicit trade fell from an estimated 48 per cent to around 32 per cent. However, the problem of contraband tobacco in Canada continues to be a major issue.