Association president Mike Hammoud says the association hired a Montreal-based research firm that collected more than 3,000 cigarette butts from 23 locations across the province.
The firm found that, on average, 15.7 per cent of the butts were from contraband cigarettes.
The butts were collected in June from locations in Grand Falls, Edmunston, Miramichi, Moncton, Oromocto, Fredericton, Sussex, Rexton and Saint John.
At one location in Grand Falls, 40.8 per cent of the butts were contraband, and the rate was almost 20 per cent at 10 school sites.
By comparison, the incidence of illegal smokes in a similar Nova Scotia study was 14.3 per cent.