In raising taxes on licit tobacco products in its latest budget, the Québec government has set out a welcome mat for organized crime to increase its stake in the province’s tobacco market, according to a note posted by Imperial Tobacco Canada on its website.
“Given the availability of cheap illegal products, raising tobacco taxes is an irresponsible, short-sighted cash grab decision by the government of Québec,” said Caroline Ferland, the company’s vice-president, corporate affairs.
“Québec has simply pandered to its anti-tobacco lobby and handed over the tobacco trade to illegal traffickers.”
The Government of Québec acknowledges that it is already losing more than $225 million a year because of illegal tobacco sales and Imperial says that increasing taxes on tobacco products will make a bad situation worse.
There were more than 200 smoke shacks in Québec that were ready to meet the increased consumer demand this tax increase would generate, the company added.
“We understand that the government is looking for a quick way to fill its coffers,” said Ferland.
“Raising tobacco taxes will only drive smokers to illegal, untaxed sources.
“The government will not reap the reward it expects.”
Category: Breaking News