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Illegal tobacco seized in BC

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 12:09 PDT, Mon August 10, 2020

More than five million illegal cigarettes were taken off the street last year in BC, saving the province $1.4 million in potential taxation revenue loss.

The illegal tobacco was seized during undercover investigations conducted with local law enforcement agencies. The finance ministry’s Consumer Taxation Audit Branch also regularly inspects retail outlets to ensure retailers are not selling contraband products.

The province strictly regulates the sale, purchase, possession and transportation of tobacco. Contraband tobacco includes products that are not properly stamped or marked, or legal products that are purchased and sold illegally.  

Contraband tobacco can get into the hands of people under the age of 19 and can contribute to increased criminal activities, such as organized crime and drug and gun trafficking. A loss of tax revenue due to illegal tobacco means reduced funding for government programs.

Individuals can anonymously report the illegal sale and distribution of contraband tobacco by calling 1-877-977-0858 or online to the Ministry of Finance or Crime Stoppers.

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