More Than Cheap Cigarettes | Toronto Teacher Mom

More Than Cheap Cigarettes

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

It has been nearly a year since I shared with you the shocking statistic that 1 in 3 cigarettes purchased in Ontario is illegal. In an effort to drive awareness of the production, distribution and sale of illegal tobacco and its impact on local communities across the province, Ontarians were invited to learn more about the issue by visiting You may recall hearing an ad on the radio or online. But did you know that Ontario is the epicentre of the illegal tobacco trade in Canada? Worse still, our province has the second highest rate of illegal tobacco sales in the Americas after Panama.

While previous findings were based on estimates and high level summaries from police reports that lacked detail, we now have court cases and arrests that paint a clearer picture of how the system works. One such case resulted in the arrest of 60 individuals and lead to 70 raids across Quebec and into the Montérégie and the Six Nations in Ontario. What we cannot deny is that the sale of contraband tobacco is directly linked to high profits for gangs and organized crime rings, causing a chain effect that leads to more criminal activity, such as drug and gun trafficking. 

The documentary above highlights an interesting fact: Illegal tobacco from Canada is funding international crime. It is not restricted to our provincial borders. While it is not entirely surprising that police investigations are uncovering more and more evidence of contraband tobacco, it is, however, still frightening to learn that roughly $75 million in annual profits end up in the hands of criminal gangs as a result of the sale of illegal tobacco. And it only makes sense that they continue to invest that equity and take advantage of the growth market.

More Than Cheap Cigarettes #StopIllegalTobacco
Click to view.

What Can You Do?

Stay informed.  Visit to learn more about the impact contraband tobacco has on local communities across the province. You can also learn how to spot illegal tobacco products and what you should do if you see illegal tobacco products or people selling illegal tobacco products. Follow the discussion on the Stop Illegal Tobacco Facebook page and via Twitter using the hashtag #StopIllegalTobacco.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco. I have received compensation for my involvement in this campaign; however, all opinions on this post are strictly my own.

You Might Also Like


  1. informative post! 1 in 3 cigarettes purchased in Ontario is illegal......that's huge!

  2. Never realized that the problem was this big...definitely something to get informed a bit more on. (Judy Cowan)

  3. money aside, and smoking is bad no matter where you get them, anyone will tell you about the horrible quality of the illegal ones.

  4. I wonder why it's more of a problem in Ontario.

  5. This is huge, but tobacco is an addiction and people will buy it cheaper if they can.
    (Debbie W)

  6. I think if the gov't lowered the taxes on regular cigarettes ppl wouldn't look for cheaper. It's all about survival.... I don't smoke, but, those that do will always look to save money. So much of our money goes into the high cost of food and not to mention the outrageous hydro rates.

  7. A couple of my friends get their cigarettes from the reservation which worries me as they have no idea what is actually in the cigarettes!

  8. That is amazing.My parents were cited for buying cigarettes illegally the second time they did it in BC in 1985!

  9. This feature was a big eye opener for me as I never thought of how people selling illegal tobacco products contribute and reinvest in other illegal activities.These cigarettes are not only illegal they are also full of chemicals that are killing people that are addicted to them.


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment here on Toronto Teacher Mom. Hope you have a great day!

Follow on Facebook

Follow on YouTube

Follow on Pinterest