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

Port Hardy approves the first step towards new subdivision

Mayor and council pass rezoning needed for new development

Windmill blade display finds a home in Port Hardy

The blade will be installed on the corner of Highway 19 and the Bear Cove Highway

Port Harvey shipyard greenlit

Bylaw 895 has been adopted by RDMW

Port McNeill Volunteer Fire Department appoints deputy chief

Port McNeill Fire Chief Dean Tait has appointed 10+ year firefighter veteran… Continue reading

Port McNeill in Focus: Childcare Availability Crisis a Good News/Bad News Story

On average, childcare across the country is unavailable, unaffordable, and the quality varies.

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Study recommends jurors receive more financial and psychological support

Federal justice committee calls for 11 policy changes to mitigate juror stress

Research needed on impact of microplastics on B.C. shellfish industry: study

SFU’s department of biological sciences recommends deeper look into shellfish ingesting microbeads

B.C. dad pens letter urging overhaul of youth health laws after son’s fatal overdose

The Infants Act currently states children under 19 years old may consent to medical treatment on own

Singh sides with B.C. in hornet’s nest of pipeline politics for the NDP

Singh had called for a more thorough environmental review process on the proposal

VIDEO: B.C. woman gets up-close view of Royal wedding

Kelly Samra won a trip back to her home country to see Prince Harry and Meghan Markle say ‘I do’

30 C in B.C., 30 cm of snow expected for eastern Canada

It might be hot in B.C., but the rest of Canada still dealing with cold

Horgan defends fight to both retain and restrict Alberta oil imports

Alberta says pipeline bottlenecks are kneecapping the industry, costing millions of dollars a day

Police release video on how to ‘run, hide, fight’ if there’s an active shooter

Vancouver police offer video with input from E-Comm, BC EHS, Vancouver Fire and Rescue

Most Read