With the recent increases in cigarette prices as well as tax issues bestowed upon legal tobacco, we still see the issue of untaxed cigarettes sitting at 30-35 % in Ontario.

Tobacco is a declining category but the best way we can shore up the instore business to constantly reminding our local MPP’s of the issues caused by ignoring this illegal activity in every community.

For the record, this has gone on way too long through successive governments and ministries and we need retailers to speak up and become part of a solution to bring the cigarette smokers back to our stores.

Tobacco is a large part of our everyday business and if a smoker is influenced to buy from an unknow source, then we lose a customer for other incremental high margin sales and impulse products.

Complaining about high prices will not solve the issue but educating your local MPP of your concerns and loss of business is a strong statement and allows you to build a business relationship with your local office.

We need to make a concerted effort together to educate local politicians and engage your local tobacco contacts to assist you in ways of communicating this issue to all customers, media, and politicians on the seriousness of this crime.

Contraband tobacco must be stopped, and it will take the efforts of the retailers, customers, and tobacco industry to remind all of the illegal movement of untaxed cigarettes throughout Ontario.