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Contraband tobacco on post-secondary campuses in Ontario
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In Ontario 27% of young adults smoke, and annual surveillance data suggests tobacco use is plateauing after years of decline. The availability of inexpensive contraband tobacco products maybe contributing to this situation. Limited research has been conducted on the use of contraband tobacco and despite the increasing availability of contraband 'Native cigarettes', no studies to date have examined their use among young adults. Accordingly, this study examines: (a) what proportion of cigarette butts discarded on post-secondary campuses are contraband; and (b) whether the proportion of contraband butts varies between colleges and universities, across seven geographical regions in the province and based on proximity First Nations reserves. In March and April 2009, discarded cigarette butts were collected from the grounds of 25 post-secondary institutions across Ontario. At each school, cigarette butts were collected on a single day from four locations. The collected cigarette butts were reliably sorted into five categories according to their filtertip logos: legal, contraband First NationslNative cigarettes, international and suspected counterfeit cigarettes, unidentifiable and unknown. Contraband use was apparent on all campuses, but varied considerably from school to school. Data suggest that contraband Native cigarettes account for as little as 1 % to as much as 38 % of the total cigarette consumption at a particular school. The highest proportion of contraband was found on campuses in the Northern part of the province. Consumption of Native contraband was generally higher on colleges compared to universities. The presence of contraband tobacco on all campuses suggests that strategies to reduce smoking among young adults must respond to this cohort's use of these products.