Last Friday, watching the news gave me goose bumps. Like many of you I'm very sad about what happened to innocent people in Paris. As parents we want to raise our children in a safe environment and we want what's best for them. One of the questions that some of you may ask yourself is: how can I get involved to stop violence? You might not be able to answer this question, but you could take small steps to educate your children to deal with conflicts in controlling their anger without using violence.
That got me thinking of what are the three things that I would like to see changed in 2016:
1- Accept people for who they are independent of their race, religion or sexual orientation. Focus on the positive and not on why a person is different.
2- I would like bullying to stop. I encourage parents to talk to their children about this important issue. If their classmates are either gay, from another country, if they look different, they should be treated the same way as all the other kids in the class.
3- Stopping the spread of illegal tobacco in Ontario. There are many ways, as parents, that we can take action.
If we really want to take a step in the right direction to stop violence, we have to get involved. Did you know that a large number of Ontarians are buying cigarettes on the black market? It might be a surprise to some of you, but it's happening in our province. It has reached a critical level. Did you know that buying illegal cigarettes has an economic impact in our province, like loss of jobs? And let's get this straight, it is also linked to illegal activities.
Here are some facts:
-1 in 3 cigarettes purchased in Ontario is illegal: highest of any province across Canada.
People buy illegal cigarettes because it's so much cheaper than legal cigarettes. There's a misconception about 'legal' purchase of cigarettes from reserves. The reason why people buy illegal cigarettes is cost, a carton of taxed (legal) cigarettes is $88.64 in Ontario and a carton of illegal cigarettes cost between $6 and $20.
-Illegal tobacco in Canada: 3 billion cigarettes and $75 million in pure profit each year.
This is an estimate from researchers at Carleton University. We are talking a lot of money, it's a highly lucrative enterprise. In Ontario alone there is about 15 million cartons of cigarettes sold. Who will benefit from this enterprise? According to the RCMP it's approximately 175 organized crime groups and gangs in Canada.
-Over 50 illegal factories in Ontario and Quebec are able to produce up to 10,000 cigarettes/minute.
That's a lot of cigarettes. We are talking about an estimate of 50 illegal factories in Ontario and Quebec, according to the RCMP. Consumers need to be aware of this as well as the public and government.
We have to get together to stop the production and sale of illegal tobacco to have safe streets for our children and our communities.
How can you learn more about this serious issue?
Visit the www.stopillegaltobacco.ca website to learn more about how to take action and get more information about illegal tobacco and the impact that it's causing across the country. On the website you can sign up to receive their newsletter, sign a petition, and join the coalition against contraband tobacco.
To join the discussion use the hashtag #StopIllegalTobacco on Twitter.
Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.