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Over $11M of tobacco seized, largest in BC history

TORONTO, ON, February 14, 2024 – Kory McDonald, Head of External Affairs, Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc. (RBH), issued the following statement today in response to the CFSU-BC seizure of $11 million of contraband tobacco on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland in British Columbia.

“Firstly, on behalf of RBH, I applaud the work of the CFSU-BC and its partner agencies on this historic action against contraband tobacco.

“Today’s seizure of cocaine, guns, ammunition, eight vehicles, drug paraphernalia and a speedboat is yet more evidence that contraband tobacco is not a victimless crime. Organized crime directly benefits from contraband with profits helping fund gun, drug and human trafficking. Criminals are not checking ID when selling contraband tobacco, making it more likely tobacco will fall in the hands of kids and youth.

“Over three in ten cigarettes sold in British Columbia are illegal, according to a recent report by Ernst and Young and the Convenience Industry Council of Canada. The same report indicates between 2019 and 2022, British Columbia lost as much as $591 million in tax revenue due to the growing contraband market.

“Illicit cigarettes are a threat to both public finances and community safety. Industry, retailers, the federal and provincial governments across the country need to work together to reduce the demand for contraband tobacco and increase enforcement efforts. Only then will we be able to reduce organized crime and keep our communities safe.”


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About Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc.

Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc. (RBH), an affiliate of Philip Morris International Inc., is one of Canada’s leading tobacco and nicotine companies and is working to deliver a smoke-free future. RBH is committed to sustainability and creating a positive impact on communities, the economy, and the environment. Currently, RBH employs nearly 800 people across the country with its headquarters in Toronto and a factory in Québec City. Discover more about the company at and stay updated on RBH’s transformation by following Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Brayden Akers, Media Relations Lead