The Vancouver Sun: Sept 8, 2009

One in five cigarettes contraband, report finds

OTTAWA – Nearly one in five packs of cigarettes lit by Canadian teen smokers are contraband products, with that figure higher in Ontario and Quebec, says a new report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The report says more that 25 per cent of adolescent smokers in Canada’s two largest provinces inhale illegal tobacco products. “Although the use of illicit substances by adolescents is well known, the use of contraband cigarettes in this age group is striking,” writes report co-author Dr. Russell Callaghan of the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.  “The widespread use of First Nations [and] native brand cigarettes, especially in Ontario and Quebec, presents a serious challenge to tobacco-control strategies, which attempts to use accessibility and price mechanisms to influence adolescents’ smoking behaviour.”