CKPHU Calls For Another Tobacco Tax Increase

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Anti-tobacco measures have made steady progress the last number years, but according to Chatham-Kent Public Health officials, the province needs to take things further.

The Chatham-Kent Board of Health is calling on Ontario’s Finance Ministry to increase tobacco excise taxes by at least another $10 a carton.

“Our tobacco taxes in Ontario are the second lowest in Canada,” says Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention Program Manager Carina Caryn. “While raising taxes does try and mitigate that problem we’d like to see them increased even more to really see that effect.”

The health board has resolved to send a letter to the minister of finance about the request. They also want to stress their stance that increasing tobacco taxes doesn’t lead to an increase in contraband tobacco. Caryn backs this fact with research from the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit.

“We’re recognizing that when we increase tobacco taxes it doesn’t create that contraband problem, which is often something that’s put out there by the tobacco industry,” says Caryn. “The benefits of increasing tobacco taxes are far greater than any issues we would see.”

Chatham-Kent further protected the municipality from tobacco exposure by passing its local smoke-free bylaw in 2014.