Quebecers still lighting up in spite of smuggling crackdown
Published Sunday, September 25, 2011 3:29PM EDT
MONTREAL - The celebrated crackdown on cigarette smuggling has done little to reduce smoking in the province, according to the Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control.
Co-director Flory Doucas is now calling on authorities to intensify efforts to reduce smoking in the province.
Doucas urges more measures to make smoking less attractive to consumers, particularly young ones. She would like to speed the process involved in putting unpleasant images on cigarette boxes. The photos depict illnesses suffered by smokers.
And although the organization is happy for the smuggling crackdown, Doucas also considers the operation has diverted attention from the real problem of smoking in general.
The sale of legal cigarettes has risen by 30 percent between 2008 and 2010 according to numbers released by Statistics Canada last week.
Overall cigarette consumption has, however, remained stable during that same period. The group says the numbers indicate that black market cigarette trafficking was halved between 2008 and 2010.
Twenty-four percent of Quebecers over the age of 12 smoke according to the 2006 census. That is two percent above the national average.
With files from The Canadian Press