By GWYDION MORRIS
Feb. 12, 2014
Jasmine Maclean says the $4 a carton tax increase on cigarettes is a good thing, even though she’s a smoker herself.
“It’s going to make people think about quitting.”
The tax increase was included in the federal budget brought down by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty Feb. 12.
Maclean said she only buys a $15 pack twice a week. That’s her limit though, adding if the price gets any higher she’ll think about quitting.
The tax increase on cartons will make a lot of people quit, said Maclean. Some who are already thinking about it will see this as a sign.
“A lot of people aren’t going to pay that much. Some people can’t afford it.”
The Canadian Cancer Society fully supports the federal government’s decision to raise the tax on cigarettes, said cancer prevention coordinator Claire Nantes for the P.E.I. chapter.
It’ll be great for the health of Canadians in the long run as more people will quit to avoid the increased spending, she said.
“When the price goes up, more people are encouraged to quit.”
The federal budget also gave $91.7 million to the RCMP to help combat the sale of contraband tobacco across Canada, a move Nantes said will reduce the number of smokers further as some might not be able to turn to illegal, cheaper means.
“There’s no point in raising taxes on cigarettes if people turn to contraband.”
Cigarettes are the leading cause of preventable death in the world with five million victims annually. Thirty seven thousand of those are in Canada. Thirty per cent of cancer deaths in Canada are a result of smoking, said Nantes.
The money raised by this new tax should go towards awareness of the dangers of smoking and programs to prevent unnecessary deaths in the future, said Nantes.
“It’s important to educate people about the consequences of smoking.”
It was announced in this year’s federal budget that tax on cartons of cigarettes will rise from between $4-$21. The new tax is expected to raise close to $700 million this year alone.