Windsor’s controversial cigarette price hike

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The owner of Midway Convenience on Wyandotte Street disagrees with the federal government’s latest budget decision to increase the price of cigarettes.

Terry Yaldo thinks this will cause more people to use contraband.

“The city has already seen a high number of contraband users,” he said. “It will not help the government to collect more taxes. It will cause more taxpaying citizens to seek other alternatives.”

But Robert Schwartz, executive director of the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit at the University of Toronto, disagrees.

Schwartz maintains that there is no proven link between an increase in tobacco taxes and an increase in contraband tobacco.

In fact, he said it was more of a health issue and expects the price hike to deter people from smoking.

“It’s been a very long time since the last tax increase,” he said. “We applaud this measure. We know that taxes are the most effective measure to reduce tobacco consumption.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s budget increased taxes on a carton of 200 cigarettes from $ 17 to $ 21.03.

It comes down to about 50 cents a packet.

However, Schwartz acknowledged that contraband tobacco is a major problem in Ontario.

He estimates that between 15 and 30 percent of the province’s market consists of contraband.

Eighteen percent of Ontarians smoke cigarettes.


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