Assessing contraband tobacco in two jurisdictions: a direct collection of cigarette butts.

Aug 16, 2016

From: BMC Public Health. 2016 Jul 22;16:622. doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-3229-0.

Stratton J1, Shiplo S2, Ward M3, Babayan A2, Stevens A2, Edwards S2.



The sale of contraband tobacco allows for tobacco tax evasion, which can undermine the effectiveness of tobacco tax policies in reducing the number of smokers. Estimates of the proportion of contraband vary widely as do the methods used to measure the proportion of contraband being smoked. The purpose of this study is to determine the proportion of contraband use in two different jurisdictions.


A cross-sectional direct collection of cigarette butts was conducted in Peel and Brantford, Ontario, Canada in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Cigarette butts were collected from a variety of locations within both regions. Cigarette butts were assessed and classified into one of the following categories: contraband, legal Canadian, legal Native, International, unknown, and discards.


The overall proportion of contraband cigarettes in Peel was 5.3 %, ranging from 2.8 to 8.6 % by location. In Brantford, the proportion of contraband was 33.0 %, with a range from 32.8 to 33.1 % by location.


The direct collection of cigarette butts was determined to be a feasible method for a local public health unit in determining the proportion of contraband cigarettes. This approach showed that Brantford has a higher proportion of contraband consumption compared to Peel, which may be due to geographic location and proximity to the United States (US)-Canada border and Native Reserves. More research is needed to confirm this geographic association with other jurisdictions.

Read Complete Study

No Responses so far

Leave a Feedback