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2011 Contraband Tobacco Statistics

  • In 2011, the RCMP seized approximately 598,000 cartons/unmarked bags of illegal cigarettes Canada-wide, representing a 22% decrease over the 2010 seizures of 782,000.
  • In 2011, the RCMP seized approximately 38,000 kilograms of fine cut tobacco, representing a 12% decrease from the 2010 seizures of 43,000 kilograms, and 2,200 kilograms of raw leaf tobacco, representing a decrease of 58 % from the 2010 seizures of 5,300 kilograms.
  • In addition to the cigarette seizures in 2011, the RCMP also seized approximately 1,164,000 illegal cigars, representing a 720% increase from the 2010 seizures of 142,000.

RCMP Cigarette Seizures: 1994 to 2011

RCMP Cigarette Seizures: 1994 to 2011Click to view larger image

1994-2002
Year 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
Cartons 456,300 437,700 356,600 222,220 158,300 115,000 36,100 29,000 39,800
2003-2011
Year 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Cartons 59,300 120,000 369,100 472,300 626,000 965,000 975,000 782,000 598,000


RCMP Fine-Cut Tobacco Seizures: 1994 to 2011

RCMP Fine-Cut Tobacco Seizures: 1994 to 2011Click to view larger image

1994-2002
Year 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
Kilograms 36,000 36,000 62,000 20,000 6,000 24,000 16,000 2,000 5,000

2003-2011
Year 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Kilograms 8,000 11,000 14,000 4,000 28,000 70,000 34,000 43,000 38,000


Today, the illicit tobacco trade is primarily comprised of:

  • Cigarettes/tobacco products manufactured in the U.S. and smuggled into Canada.
  • Illicitly produced cigarettes/tobacco products manufactured in Canada.
  • Counterfeit tobacco products involving domestic and foreign brands making their way into the country via sea container (mostly from China).
  • Diverted products that are destined for sale on reserves and end up being sold elsewhere in Canada. These products are legally manufactured but provincial taxes have not been collected. This scheme also allows the seller to discount the product, which makes it appealing to consumers.
  • Illicit sales via the internet (including illegally manufactured/counterfeited tobacco products and products on which duties or taxes are not paid).