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Contraband Tobacco Fuels Crime

Action is needed to protect public safety and tax revenue.

TORONTO, ON, March 1, 2024 – Kory McDonald, Head, External Affairs, Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc. (RBH), issued the following statement today, in response to the Government of Alberta’s provincial budget.

“It’s encouraging that Alberta is recognizing the serious effects of contraband tobacco on public safety and tax revenue by investing resources to identify additional policy measures to combat this organized criminal activity.  

“Evidence shows that instead of reducing smoking, higher cigarette costs have the unintended consequence of driving consumers to cheaper, unregulated, illicit products. Just next door to Alberta, British Columbia has lost as much as $591 million in tax revenue between 2019 and 2022, according to a recent report by Ernst and Young.

“In addition to funding organized crime including drug trafficking and gun violence, Alberta’s growing contraband market not only threatens the safety of our communities but also increases the risk cigarettes will fall in the hands of youth. Simply put, criminals do not check ID. RBH wants to continue to work together with the Alberta government and provincial law enforcement agencies to take decisive action to combat the problem of contraband tobacco. We stand ready to assist Alberta’s new cross-ministry/agency working group in their efforts.”

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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.

Media Inquiries:

Media Relations
Brayden Akers, Media Relations Lead