Oyama business owner leads charge against contraband tobacco – Kelowna News

Fight against illegal cigs

The provincial government needs to do something to stop the distribution and sale of contraband tobacco.

Convenience store operators, concerned about the impact contraband tobacco sales are having on their business, launched the “Speak up for Our Store,” campaign earlier this week.

The campaign was launched at the Oyama General Store Wednesday.

It is asking the government to address contraband tobacco in next year’s budget.

Store owner Cory Holland says he has been in business for 20 years but is concerned what it will take for him to continue to stay in business much longer.

“With no support from the BC government, I am not sure what will happen to my store and my community,” said Holland.

“I have operated my store for over 20 years in BC and I have never seen such a severe loss of sales and customers because of contraband tobacco. People are not feeling safe and it’s a slippery slope.

“Today, the serious issue is contraband tobacco but what is it going to be next for these illegal pushers? We as store owners feel disappointed and abandoned by our own government. We need help.”

The Convenience Retailers Alliance 4 Safe Communities says retailers across the province are suffering through the loss of millions of dollars in revenue while the taxpayers of the province are also losing millions in tax revenue.

The advocacy group says better policies are needed to stop the distribution of contraband tobacco, some of which have been enacted in other provinces across the country.

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