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2010 Contraband Tobacco Statistics

  • In 2010, the RCMP seized approximately 782,000 cartons/unmarked bags of illegal cigarettes Canada-wide, representing a 20% decrease over the 2009 seizures of 975,000.
  • There was an increase in the 2010 RCMP seizures of fine cut tobacco and raw leaf tobacco; seized in 2010 were approximately 43,000 kilograms of fine cut tobacco, representing a 26% increase from the 2009 seizures of 34,000 kilograms, and 5,300 kilograms of raw leaf tobacco, representing a large increase from the 2009 seizures of 10 kilograms.
  • In addition to the cigarette seizures in 2010, the RCMP also seized approximately 142,000 illegal cigars, representing a 451% decrease from the 2009 seizures of 783,000.

RCMP Cigarette Seizures: 1994 to 2010

RCMP Cigarette Seizures: 1994 to 2010

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1994-2001
Year 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001
Cartons 456,300 437,700 356,600 222,220 158,300 115,000 36,100 29,000

2002-2010
Year 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Cartons 39,800 59,300 120,000 369,100 472,300 626,000 965,000 975,000 782,000


RCMP Fine-Cut Tobacco Seizures: 1994 to 2010

RCMP Fine-Cut Tobacco Seizures: 1994 to 2010

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

2002-2010
Year 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Kilograms 5,000 8,000 11,000 14,000 4,000 28,000 70,000 34,000 43,000


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).