FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA , ON -- The federal government has announced that as of February 14, 1998, tobacco taxes were increased by $1.20 per carton of cigarettes, adding an extra $70 million to the government’s consolidated revenue fund. The tax increase is intended to act as a dis-incentive to young smokers who are particularly price-sensitive.
There was no corresponding announcement of funding for youth health education programs to combat smoking. Government commitment to such programs remains unchanged at $10 million per year for five years.
"I am supportive of the federal government’s tax initiative and this is good news for the Tobacco Industry Responsibility Act." commented Senator Colin Kenny, author and sponsor of TIRA. "However, I am gravely disappointed there is no provision for funds directed to health education programs for youth."
The federal tax increase of $1.20 per carton poses no difficulties for TIRA’s levy of .50¢ per carton of cigarettes. Even with a total tax of $1.70 per carton, police sources have indicated there is room for a $2.00 increase in the price of a carton of cigarettes before there would be an increase in smuggling.
Quebec 's finance Minister, Bernard Landry, has announced the province will spend its $12 million in new tax revenue to fund cultural and sports events that are dependent on tobacco sponsorships. Again, this is positive news for TIRA. Quebec ’s initiatives, similar to TIRA’s core principles, place more pressure on the federal government to adopt TIRA and match Quebec ’s upcoming legislation.