Hiccups and coughing — the dire symptoms of illegal tobacco sales

Owning, operating or even working in a convenience store in St. Thomas, or for that matter anywhere, is not for the faint-hearted.
Long hours, the constant tussle with theft and miniscule profit margins don’t paint a rosy picture for employment, or investment, in a corner variety store.
But those are minor inconveniences compared to the death struggle now facing Mary (not her real name) who has put in a minimum 60-hour week at her variety store for more than a dozen years.
Contraband tobacco — two words that have become a rallying cry for Mary and the owners of about 9,000 convenience stores in the province.
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