A study

Illegal cigarette butts big in Prince Rupert

The percentage of illegal cigarettes being smoked in Prince Rupert is higher than the provincial average.

The percentage of illegal cigarettes being smoked in Prince Rupert is higher than the provincial average.

A study released by the Western Convenience Store Association (WCSA) examined discarded cigarette butts at 48 sites throughout the province to determine how much illegal cigarettes are being smoked throughout British Columbia.

For the study, all cigarette butts found on the ground or in ashtrays in various areas were collected and examined. Sites were selected on the basis that a good cross-section of the public might be smoking in that area — the site chosen for Prince Rupert was around City Hall.

The study was conducted between April 27 and May 26, with the average rate of illegal tobacco use at tested sites being 17 per cent. In Prince Rupert, the rate of illegal tobacco collected was 23.5 per cent.

Andrew Klukas, president of the Western Convenience Stores Association, said the usage of contraband is a concern for a number of reasons, including loss of government revenue.

“In British Columbia, if in fact the average is 17.3 [of cigarettes are contraband], and that’s what our numbers tell us, that would represent a $120 million a year in lost revenue … it means the funding that would go into public services for everybody aren’t there,” he said.

Data collected in other communities showed that there were high percentages of contraband butts near schools with underage consumption being another concern of illegal cigarette use.

“When there’s people out there who are selling contraband products out of their trunks, or whatever it is, without any age testing, they sell to whomever’s willing to buy at a low cost, it undermines all of our efforts to get at the issue of youth consumption,” Klukas said.

“It’s very frustrating for my members.”

Klukas also said the RCMP has determined that contraband cigarettes have been linked to organized crime.

Contraband cigarettes, while they look like legal cigarettes, are not branded with company logos or with mandated warnings on packages.

The WCSA is now calling on the provincial government to address contraband through proactive legislation and by allocating additional resources for enforcement. It is also asking the B.C. government to work with all levels of government to address the issue.

Just Posted

Cause of Kitkatla seaplane crash released

TSB report on seaplane crash during a water landing in May 2016, Inland Air has since changed policy

UPDATE: Coal train derailment near New Hazelton

CN reports no injuries or dangerous goods involved after coal train derailment in Northern B.C.

Rampage beat Quesnel to wrap up the season

The win puts Prince Rupert in second place in the CIHL

Kurka keeps thing official

The longtime hockey referee has been on the ice in Prince Rupert for more than 30 years

Rampaging toward the playoffs

The Prince Rupert Rampage beat the Terrace River Kings 8-5 on Jan. 20

VIDEO: New whale rescue equipment comes to Rupert

Fisheries officers took to the water to practice saving stranded whales

Carriers wanted for the Northern View

We have open routes for carriers all over Prince Rupert

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for B.C. woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

Brother of B.C. teen killed by stray bullet says the death left a void

Alfred Wong, 15, was gunned down in Vancouver while on his way home from dinner with his family

Movie filmed in Castlegar B.C. opens Friday

Hollow in the Land starring Dianna Agron will be playing in select cinemas.

Cougar window shops at Banff grocery store

An RCMP officer spots a cougar outside an Alberta grocery store

Police fear fewer fentanyl imports don’t signal the end of the overdose crisis

RCMP say it’s just as likely that criminal are getting more clever

Most Read