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Non-native smokers head to reserves, report says

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    ... From: RUSSELL DIABO To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;@priv-edtnaa03.telusplanet.net Sent: Monday, November 05, 2007 5:22 AM Subject: Non-native smokers head to
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 5, 2007
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: RUSSELL DIABO
      To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;@...
      Sent: Monday, November 05, 2007 5:22 AM
      Subject: Non-native smokers head to reserves, report says




      Non-native smokers head to reserves, report says
      BILL CURRY

      From Monday's Globe and Mail

      November 5, 2007 at 5:13 AM EST

      OTTAWA � Non-aboriginal Ontarians are heading to Indian reserves in large numbers for cheap, tax-free cigarettes, according to the first major study on the issue independent of the tobacco industry.

      The results prove the numerous unregulated "smoke shacks" popping up on native land are not solely for the use of the community.

      The report from the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, a provincially funded joint project of the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo, was delivered last Friday to officials at Queen's Park and in Ottawa and will be released to the public today.

      Among its key findings, 37 per cent of current Ontario smokers say they had gone to a reserve to buy cigarettes at least once. Just over a quarter, 26 per cent, said they had bought at least one pack of cigarettes on reserve in the previous six months.

      Smokers in the Northern Ontario area codes of 807 and 705, and western Ontario's 519 area code, were more likely to buy cigarettes on reserve than smokers in Eastern Ontario or the Greater Toronto Area.

      The report outlines a host of measures governments could be taking to address the problem without slashing tobacco taxes, which are a key part of efforts to discourage smoking.

      Roberta Ferrence, of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, co-authored the report. She said governments and aboriginal communities should be debating the range of proposed solutions. For example, Dr. Ferrence notes that governments could allow aboriginal communities to keep the tax revenues from tobacco, which would maintain the high prices and also benefit the communities.

      "We hope [the report] will add to the evidence that our public-health strategies for reducing tobacco use are being seriously undermined," she said. "Even though it may be considered a delicate issue, it's really important the government address it because lives will be lost, people will get sick. This is the bottom line."

      The survey of 1,405 smokers was conducted between July 2005 and June 2006.

      The 29-page report discusses two main problems regarding cigarettes sold on reserves. The first is that a growing number of illegally manufactured cigarettes, produced primarily on the U.S. side of the Akwesasne reserve, are being couriered to Canadian reserves for sale in unregulated smoke shacks.

      The second issue is the sale of legally made, brand-name cigarettes on reserve that are sold to non-natives without taxes being collected. This could include cigarettes from Canadian on-reserve manufacturers who have government quotas on the number of cigarettes that can be shipped to other reserves.

      Under the Indian Act, status Indians are exempt from paying taxes on cigarettes purchased on reserve. However, federal government documents have expressed concern that the amount of tobacco sold on reserves far exceeds the amount that could possibly be smoked by reserve residents.

      The survey found that only one-third of smokers who purchased on reserve indicated that their regular brand was made by one of the three major Canadian companies (Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd., Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc., or JTI-MacDonald Corp.).


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