Bad news for smokers: a report from Health Canada is urging the federal government to raise taxes on cigarettes.
If the Trudeau government wants to reduce the number of Canadians who smoke, a promise made in March, then a tax hike on cigarettes is the best route, says the report.
The Health Canada report, obtained by CBC by using an Access to Information Request, suggests that cigarette taxes need to jump up to 80% of the retail price if the federal government wants to reach its goal.
Currently, cigarette taxes are set at 68% of the retail price.
No one from the Department of Finance, the government body that oversees taxation, has said whether or not the government will be increasing taxes on cigarettes.
But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
Health Canada’s report did state that raising taxes on cigarettes is, historically, the most effective way to reduce the number of smokers. Make smoking less affordable and less people will smoke, essentially.
Right now, 14.2% of Canadians are smokers. The Trudeau government wants to drop that number down to 5% by 2035.
If the quick-and-easy option is to hike taxes on cigarettes, which would also be a nice cash bonus for the government, then it’s probably going to happen.
Nothing is confirmed, of course. The federal government did already raise taxes on cigarettes in the 2017 budget, however, albeit minimally.