Contraband Tobacco

Illegal tobacco, often referred to as contraband tobacco, are products that do not comply with Canada’s tobacco regulations – specifically those regarding importation, stamping, manufacturing, distribution, labelling and taxation.

Contraband tobacco has cost convenience store owners as much as $2.5 billion in lost sales annually and the federal and provincial governments more than $2 billion a year in lost tax revenue and has put many c-retailers out of business.

In addition, the manufacture and sale of contraband tobacco puts communities at risk because of its association with organized crime. And, since contraband tobacco is so much cheaper and more readily available than legal tobacco – a "baggie" of 200 cigarettes can cost less than a movie ticket and contraband dealers don't check for ID — it is a prime source for youth smoking.

Fighting contraband tobacco is one of the CCSA’s key government relations priorities. The CCSA is stressing the importance of implementing a 50-officer RCMP Anti-Contraband Task Force, slated for operation this year. The CCSA also actively solicited the government to increase penalties for those convicted of multiple contraband offences. These penalties have since been implemented. Click here for more information about this initiative and other ways the CCSA is leading the fight on contraband tobacco.

As the threat of contraband tobacco continues to grow across the country, the CCSA and its regional affiliate partners continue to work hard to inform and educate people about the severe impact this illegal trade has on our industry and the communities we serve.