B.C. tobacco tax adds $5.50 to a pack of 20 cigarettes effective April 1, on top of sales tax and federal excise tax. (Black Press files)

BC BUDGET: Tobacco tax hike may light up black market in smokes

NDP government adds another 56 cents per pack as of April 1

The latest increase in tobacco taxes puts B.C. cigarette prices among the highest in Canada, prompting concern about an increase in smuggled smokes.

The B.C. government budget adds 56 cents in tax to the price of a pack of 20 cigarettes, effective April 1. That brings the total provincial tax to $5.50 per pack, with federal excise tax and provincial sales tax on top of that.

It’s the second increase this year. B.C.’s tobacco tax went up 16 cents per pack on Jan. 1, and one of Canada’s largest tobacco companies warns the effect may not be what the provincial government expects.

A 50-cent tax increase in Alberta last year led to a drop in tobacco tax revenue, said Eric Gagnon, head of corporate and regulatory affairs for Imperial Tobacco Canada.

“Excessive taxation is the primary factor that drives consumers to the illegal market,” Gagnon said. “The federal government recognizes this when it comes to marijuana, with federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau suggesting that taxes should be kept low to allow competition with the illicit market.”

B.C. continues to allow tax-exempt tobacco sales to aboriginal people on reserves, and in duty free shops for international travellers. Diplomatic and consular staff are also eligible for tax-free tobacco purchases.

Just Posted

CONTEST: Win a pair of tickets to Sunfest Country Music Festival

Make sure to Like the Comox Valley Record’s Facebook page

3L happy with CVRD staff reversal of ruling

Company’s request for minor amendment to RGS was announced as defeated Tuesday, overturned Wednesday

Nickel Carnival coming to Courtenay

Families welcome for games, face painting, food and more

Specialized vehicle analyzing Courtenay roads

If you see a strange-looking white van with what looks like a… Continue reading

LETTER: Hat obnoxious, manager not bigoted

One Langley Advance letter writer takes exception to another’s comments about an MAGA hat incident.

Through your lens: Okanagan wildfires

Check out some of the captivating images and video from social media of the wildfires

Bob Castle’s Under the Glacier cartoon for July 19, 2018

Bob Castle’s Under the Glacier cartoon for July 19, 2018… Continue reading

BC Games: Opening Ceremony from Laketown Ranch

Hundreds of athletes and thousands of volunteers, coaches, parents and officials

World’s translators push back on forcing Trump interpreter to testify

Democrats had asked translator to testify about Trump’s lengthy conversation with Putin in Helsinki

Comox legend guest of honour

Stocky Edwards will be the man of the hour Aug. 8

No decision on B.C. school stabbing suspect’s mental fitness for trial

The BC Review Board could not determine whether Gabriel Klein, 21, is fit to stand trial

Cannabis facility planned in Courtenay

Design up to 100,000 square feet

Canadian government threatens to retaliate if Trump imposes auto tariffs

U.S president had suggested that auto imports pose a national security risk to the U.S.

Wildfire evacuation order forces bride to search for new wedding venue

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards is under an order due to the Mount Eneas wildfire south of Peachland

Most Read