Quebec’s new smoking tax has kicked in and it’s causing concern

Feb 9 2023, 3:24 pm

As of Thursday, smokers in Quebec will have to pay more for cigarettes and cigars. The change comes after Quebec announced an increase in the tax on tobacco products for the first time since 2014.

While the backlash to the announcement has not been major, Imperial Tobacco Canada is calling the increase of $8 per carton of 200 cigarettes a “gift for tobacco smugglers.”

According to a press release published by the company on Thursday, the Quebec government is opening the floodgates to increased smuggling with a “drastic” tobacco tax hike.

“We understand that the Quebec government wants to implement additional measures to reach its objective of reducing smoking rate to less than 10% by 2025, but we are disappointed with the strategy adopted to achieve it” said Eric Gagnon, vice-president of legal and external affairs at Imperial Tobacco Canada.

”Imposing shocks like this on consumers in the current economic environment will push consumers to untaxed and unregulated tobacco products, fuelling an industry run by organized crime.”

Imperial Tobacco cited the example of the BC government, which has increased its tobacco tax rate by 44% since 2017. According to them, the rate of illegal tobacco smuggling has tripled in the province as a result.

The cigarette conglomerate says that in order to support its Strategy for a Tobacco-Free Quebec 2020-2025 and reach its target more quickly, the government should consider educating smokers on less harmful alternatives such as vaping.

“The Quebec Government should ensure that vaping products remain affordable and accessible and encourage smokers who are unable to quit to turn to vaping products, all while ensuring that these products are not accessible to minors.”

Al SciolaAl Sciola

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