NOTICE TO PIPE SMOKERS, THOSE USING ROLL-YOUR-OWN TOBACCOS AND SNUZ & CHEWING TOBACCO CONSUMERS:
The recent Provincial Tobacco Tax (ptt), is totally unbalanced, illogical and unfair. We must speak out before it is too late. The second phase of this latest increase goes into effect April 1, 2018.
Until recently the government of BC, as well as other provinces and the feds, have justified big tobacco tax increases by claiming the moral high ground with preamble such as…“in order to protect the kids” or … “to encourage Canadians to adopt a healthier lifestyle”. The latest BC tobacco tax grabs come with no such lofty goals to soften the blow. There was one as recently as January 1st and another is proposed for April 1st. Retailers were bluntly commanded to count their inventory as of closing New Year’s Eve and submit payment of an extra retroactive tax, on the existing inventory that they had already paid tax on, by the end of the month. Yet another such order has been received for the evening of March 31st to be submitted by the end of April.
This latest tax demand is troubling in another way though. Not only is it arrogant and unfair in its implementation but it hits the folks who use loose tobacco very severely (note: loose tobacco refers mainly to pipe, roll-your-own and chewing tobacco products). The increase proposed for loose tobacco is 51.82% over the January 1st level and 56.9% over the 2017 rate. This increase is just too large and is not justified.
You can see with a glance at the table below how unfair these increases are. Dig deeper and it becomes obvious there is no reason or logic behind them either. They seem to be based on a whim.
~ 2017 Cigarettes @ $0.239 per cig. January 1st @ $0.247. April 1st @ $0.275.
~ Cigarettes took a 3.35 % increase January 1st, followed by a 11.34% increase proposed for April 1st. The total increase on cigarettes is 15.6% .
~ Loose tobacco the same 3.35 % increase January 1st but the proposed increase for April 1st is 51.82%. The total increase is 56.9% over 2017.
~ To put these numbers in the proper perspective: cigarettes are usually sold in packs of 20. 20 x 0.225 = $5.50 per package ptt only.
~ Pipe tobacco and roll-your-own is sold in 50 gram tins or pouches. 50 x 0.375 = $18.75 ptt to the BC Minister of Finance.
~ These taxes are hidden within the total retail price and do not include the federal taxes, the cost of production and distribution or any profit for the private sector.
Only a small minority of smokers use a pipe or roll-your-own. They prefer tobacco in this format because they smoke for the flavour or to control the amount they smoke. In the case of most pipe smokers this might be once or twice a day. The folks who use roll-your-own also smoke more for pleasure than habit and prefer to use the additive free and organic brands that have recently appeared on Canadian retailer’s shelves. The BC government’s reason for attacking these two categories of tobacco smokers with really severe tax increases is obscure and defies logic. It would seem to be a punishment for those smokers who are trying to use the product in an adult, responsible way.
The contact information for some of the decision makers in BC that might have some interest in your opinion are listed below, you may want to make your thoughts known. If your government doesn’t hear from you they can assume you agree with their policies.
John Horgan – Premier (250)387-1715 john.horganMLA@leg.bc.ca
Carole James – Finance (250)387-3751 carole.james.MLA@leg.bc.ca
Leonard Krog –Nanaimo (250)714-0630 leonard.krog.MLA@leg.bc.ca