Up to 30% of teen smokers are buying First Nations or Native brands – at 1/3 price of brand-name cigarettes
(Toronto) – Teens who smoke are buying cheaper contraband cigarettes in large numbers across Canada, according to a study co-authored by Dr. Russell Callaghan of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). The study was published Dec. 26 by the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
The untaxed contraband cigarettes are available in a thriving underground market from some First Nations and Native organizations in Ontario and Quebec and, at $3-$4, sell for about a third of the price of legitimate or name brands. Previous studies have found that adult smokers of the contraband cigarettes are less likely to try to quit smoking. This has troubling implications for teens who use these cigarettes while developing their smoking habit, however, “the use of contraband cigarettes by teens is not considered in most of our health promotion activities directed at teens,” says Dr. Callaghan.
This study helps to round out the picture of teen smoking in Canada, he adds. “Increasing the price of cigarettes in stores, or taking them off the open shelves in convenience stores, is not going to be an effective way to reach those teens who access contraband cigarettes,” he says.
Numbers highest in Ontario, Quebec
The study asked teens in secondary schools across Canada about their smoking choices. Of the 2,849 who smoke, about 17.5 % use First Nations or Native brand cigarettes. The numbers are even higher in central Canada, with 26.3 % in Ontario and 30% of teen smokers in Quebec buying the contraband smokes. In contrast, less than 4% of teens in Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador use the contraband cigarettes.
More than 40,000 high school students in grades nine to 12 filled out the 2006/2007 Youth Smoking Survey across 10 provinces. The students who identified themselves as smoking at least one cigarette a day were asked which brand they usually smoked.
Issues of the contraband-cigarette trade and First Nations jurisdictions and are complex, adds Dr. Callaghan. “Now we know that policy directed at teen smokers needs to take their access to contraband cigarettes into consideration,” he says.
Funding for this study came from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, in a grant to CAMH.
“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Register to be an organ and tissue donor & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network. NEW for Ontario: recycleMe.org - Learn The Ins & Outs Of Organ And Tissue Donation. Register Today! For other Canadian provinces click here
In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register
In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves
Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant.