WINNIPEG – Illegal smokes are on the rise in Manitoba.
The Western Convenience Stores Association commissioned a study on the matter and found the contraband tobacco rate last month was close to 15 percent.
Last year it was less than 13 percent.
Andrew Klukas of the Western Convenience Stores Association explains how they figured out the number of illegal cigarettes.
“They’ll go to sites and we choose sites based on a good cross section of smokers,” says Klukas. “We’ll go to city halls, hospitals, shopping centres and we look at schools too because we’re concerned about kids. They simply do a comparison of the butts that are laying around on the ground. They get a sample size that’s big enough to have decent confidence levels.”
Klukas tells 680 CJOB they didn’t even know it was a problem until they did a study a few years ago based on figures from Ontario.
He adds the rising cost of a pack of cigarettes is driving the underground market.
The highest number of contraband smokes were found near Brandon City Hall.