Trudeau’s tax on the poor: price hikes coming to smoking and vaping products
Budget 2024 has revealed the Liberals’ continued and intentional push to artificially inflate the price of nicotine products in a bid to price poor people out of smoking and vaping.

Keean Bexte

April 17, 2024

Budget 2024 has revealed the Liberals’ continued and intentional push to artificially inflate the price of nicotine products in a bid to price poor people out of smoking and vaping.

Trudeau’s tax on the poor: price hikes coming to smoking and vaping products

On pages 346–347 of the budget, under “Towards a Healthier, Nicotine-Free Generation”, Trudeau reveals his intention to increase the excise duty on all nicotine products in the country.

“In addition to raising revenues, a more robust federal excise duty framework for tobacco and vaping products could help to lower smoking rates towards Canada’s target of less than five per cent tobacco use by 2035, as well as lower vaping rates among younger Canadians,” the Liberals write.

According to Budget 2024, the increase to the tobacco excise duty will result in cartons of cigarettes immediately becoming $4 more expensive, which is in addition to the automatic inflation that occurred this month of $1.49 per carton.

“Starting the day after this budget, the total tobacco excise duties increase will be $5.49 per carton. It is estimated that this measure would increase federal revenues by $1.36 billion over five years starting in 2024-25,” the Liberals write.

That’s $1.36 billion out of the pockets of those Canadians who smoke and into the pockets of the federal government for no other reason than to be punitive.

And which Canadians are most likely to smoke? Those with lower income levels.

According to Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, “Those in the poorest households are 1.8 times as likely to smoke as those in the wealthiest: only 12% of Canadians in the highest group say they smoke cigarettes compared with 22% in the poorest.”

Families dealing with food insecurity are also significantly more likely to be smokers than those not facing such struggles, meaning additional taxes on smoking will only exasperate the financial hardships of the most financially vulnerable.

“One-third of the 2.5 million Canadians who live with moderate or severe food insecurity are smokers,” writes PSFC.

Also slamming the feds’ decision, Kory McDonald, Director of External Affairs at Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, told The Counter Signal “The federal government’s decision to increase tobacco taxes above and beyond the rate of inflation will only expand Canada’s growing contraband tobacco market, putting more money in the pockets of organized crime while making our communities less safe.”

McDonald added: “As more and more consumers buy illegal tobacco to avoid these new taxes, government revenue will only go down, not up, meaning less revenue for vital public services.”

Increases coming July 1

The Liberals have also declared their intention to increase the vaping excise duty rates by an additional 12% on July 1, increasing the costs of the typical vaping pod by 24 cents. That doesn’t sound so bad, except it all adds up.

In total, the Liberals predict this will result in another $310 million being syphoned from Canadians who vape and into the pockets of the federal government.

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