The group’s third annual study of illegal cigarette consumption in the province, however, shows prohibited cigarettes continue to be easily available.
“The latest research indicates that the prevalence of illegal cigarettes in Newfoundland is likely something in the range of 15 per cent,” association president Mike Hammoud said in a news release.
“That’s a lot of illegal sales and it’s costing the provincial government millions of dollars in lost revenue. If you are an adult and you want to smoke, you should be prepared to pay the legal price and taxes.”
The research findings are based on almost 2,800 cigarette ends collected in late September and early October from 20 sites in St. John’s, Mount Pearl, Paradise, Conception Bay South, Carbonear and Avondale.
The work was done by NIRIC, an independent research firm based in Montreal, who has done almost 30 similar studies across the country.
The convenience store industry is encouraging the provincial government to enact tougher legislation.
Hammoud said the provincial government passed a ban on flavoured tobacco this year because of concerns over the impact the products were having on youth and young adult smoking.
The government also committed to $250,000 in new funding for new and expanded programs and services to help people quit smoking, he said.
“If we’re talking about reducing the factors that encourage youth and young adults to smoke, then criminal trafficking in illegal cigarettes is a far more serious issue than flavoured tobacco ever would be,” Hammoud said.