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Quebec Is Raising The Tax On Cigarettes So It's Too Expensive For You To Smoke

It's the first increase in nine years.

A person smokes on a public bench in Montreal's Quartier des Spectacles.

A person smokes on a public bench in Montreal's Quartier des Spectacles.

In addition to the toll on your skin, teeth, odour and life expectancy, smoke breaks are about to cost you more money. Quebec is set to raise the tax on cigarettes by $8 per carton of 200. It's the first targeted tobacco tax increase in nine years, according to Minister of Finance Eric Girard. In a press release, his office described the move as a public health measure aimed at decreasing the number of smokers in the province.

Citing 2021 Statistics Canada data, the government says that around 13.3% of Quebec residents smoke tobacco, the fourth highest rate in Canada. The goal is to bring that down to 10% by 2025.

The government also puts smoking-related health costs at $3.8 billion per year.

"Tobacco consumption remains a major public health problem in Quebec, and taxing these products is one of the best measures in the fight against tobacco use, particularly among young people," Health Minister Christian Dubé said in the release.

"The announced increase will contribute to achieving the government's health prevention policy objectives."

The ministries of health and finance also touted the government's other anti-smoking initiatives. They include public insurance-covered "pharmacological aids" for quitters and a hotline for smokers looking to quit (1-866-JARRETE).

This tax increase will join a planned provincial tax hike on vaping products following the introduction of a targeted federal vaping tax in October.

Critics argue that the combined provincial and federal increases could mean users pay up to 80% more for vaping products. But Girard anticipates the measure will deter young people from adopting the habit.

Since January 1, 2023, vaping products to which the new federal excise tax applies must display special stamps indicating their compliance.

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