Halton Crime Stoppers is warning residents about the sale and use of illegal cigarettes.

The Ontario Association of Crime Stoppers urging people to think about where their money is going when they purchase contraband cigarettes and other tobacco products. This initiative is being supported by Halton Crime Stoppers.

In addition to the loss of $1 billion a year to the Ontario treasury, money generated from the sale of illegal cigarettes goes to fund organized crime and terrorist activities.

“It’s not a victimless crime,” said Cal Millar, chair of Halton Crime Stoppers. “In addition to fuelling crime at the local, national and international levels, illicit tobacco products pose major health threats to the public and make it easier for young people to start smoking.”

The Ontario campaign is using radio spots and newspaper public service announcements to encourage people to call Crime Stoppers if they know where illegal cigarettes are being sold.

A news release being distributed by the Ontario Association of Crime Stoppers says the distribution of guns and drugs are being financed through illegal tobacco sales as well as many human trafficking operations.

“Given the close connection between illegal cigarettes and its funding of criminal activity in our communities, it’s important to educate and empower members of the community to safely make a difference by calling Crime Stoppers,” said Sean Sportun, a Director of the Ontario Association of Crime Stoppers.