Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco

Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco

May 02, 2013 11:39 ET

Media Advisory/OCAT-Contraband Tobacco Control Measures Likely in Ontario Budget: Health Agencies

Measures first introduced in 2012 Budget but not passed, expected today: Campaign Director available to comment

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 2, 2013) - Measures to control contraband tobacco products first introduced in the 2012 Ontario Budget but not passed due to prorogation, are likely to reappear in today's Budget, says the province's leading tobacco control coalition.

"The 2012 measures included increased enforcement powers for police and Revenue officers including the ability to stop, search and impound vehicles transporting illegal tobacco, and authority to law enforcement to ticket those possessing small amounts of contraband," said Michael Perley, Director of the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco. "These and other measures, together with a promised doubling in the provincial enforcement budget, should help continue the progress Ontario is making in reducing contraband's share of the market. Tobacco tax revenues have increased over the last three years, a sign that the contraband market is shrinking."

Perley also pointed to the need to raise provincial tobacco taxes. "Ontario still has the second lowest provincial tobacco taxes in Canada, and we have not had a tax increase since 2006. We have asked the province to raise tobacco taxes by $4/carton, the same modest amount by which Quebec just raised its tobacco taxes. Taxes are the number one most effective tobacco control intervention, and an increase is overdue," Perley said.

Perley will be available to comment on today's provincial Budget as soon as it is announced, and he will attend the Budget lockup until 4:00 pm.

The Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco was founded in 1992 by the Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division), the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, the Non-Smokers' Rights Association, the Ontario Lung Association, and the Ontario Medical Association to promote comprehensive tobacco control in Ontario.

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