VANCOUVER, BC, Feb. 27, 2023 /CNW/ - One of Premier Eby's first initiatives as Premier was to announce the Safer Communities Plan. B.C.'s independent convenience store owners agree there is a community safety problem and applaud the Premier for recognizing the visible and dangerous increase in criminal activities in the province.
Soon, the government will unveil a new provincial budget and retailers would like to draw the government's attention to a few important facts regarding the rise of contraband tobacco in your province in hopes Premier Eby and others take serious action.
B.C. is the worst province for Contraband Tobacco in Canada. Research shows that an estimated 30 and 50 percent of tobacco sales in the province are contraband products.
Contraband tobacco compromises community safety. Crimestoppers British Columbia has stated explicitly that the Okanagan is a hotspot for contraband tobacco. In fact, the recent incident in Vernon, B.C. where authorities seized nearly 1.5 million contraband cigarettes during a routine traffic stop demonstrates the problem precisely.
Moreover, the more recent incident in Northern B.C., where authorities seized not only contraband cigarettes but also multiple vehicles, several firearms, and thousands of dollars in cash further reinforces that this is a growing problem associated with other criminal activities that harm our communities safe.
"Independent convenience store owners and British Columbians are depending on the government to walk the talk when it comes to keeping our communities safe," says Chris Burger, owner of a Qualicum Beach store. Contraband tobacco has no place in our communities, and we hope to see a change for the better soon."
B.C. retailers are also asking the provincial government to address contraband tobacco in the upcoming 2023 provincial budget, which is set to be released this month.
The Convenience Retailers Alliance 4 Safe Communities is an advocacy group calling for action against contraband tobacco in British Columbia.
SOURCE Convenience Retailers Alliance