B.C. tobacco tax adds $5.50 to a pack of 20 cigarettes effective April 1, on top of sales tax and federal excise tax. (Black Press files)

BC BUDGET: Tobacco tax hike may light up black market in smokes

NDP government adds another 56 cents per pack as of April 1

The latest increase in tobacco taxes puts B.C. cigarette prices among the highest in Canada, prompting concern about an increase in smuggled smokes.

The B.C. government budget adds 56 cents in tax to the price of a pack of 20 cigarettes, effective April 1. That brings the total provincial tax to $5.50 per pack, with federal excise tax and provincial sales tax on top of that.

It’s the second increase this year. B.C.’s tobacco tax went up 16 cents per pack on Jan. 1, and one of Canada’s largest tobacco companies warns the effect may not be what the provincial government expects.

A 50-cent tax increase in Alberta last year led to a drop in tobacco tax revenue, said Eric Gagnon, head of corporate and regulatory affairs for Imperial Tobacco Canada.

“Excessive taxation is the primary factor that drives consumers to the illegal market,” Gagnon said. “The federal government recognizes this when it comes to marijuana, with federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau suggesting that taxes should be kept low to allow competition with the illicit market.”

B.C. continues to allow tax-exempt tobacco sales to aboriginal people on reserves, and in duty free shops for international travellers. Diplomatic and consular staff are also eligible for tax-free tobacco purchases.

Just Posted

Jean Minifie named Lady of the Year by Beta Sigma Phi chapter

The Beta Sigma Phi chapter held a dinner on Tuesday, April 17… Continue reading

Benjamin Circus headed to Kimberley

The Great Benjamin Circus is coming to the Kimberley Civic Centre on… Continue reading

RCMP warn of CRA scams

Callers re often threatened with jail or deportation

MLA Report

Quarterly report from MLA Doug Clovechok

Kimberley will go the distance with cardboard boats

For the Bulletin Time to save your cardboard and unroll your duct… Continue reading

Lt.-Gov. Guichon believes she made the right decision

Outgoing Lt.-Gov Judith Guichon said her most memorable moments weren’t surrounding the election

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

VIDEO: Smokers talk pot rules at annual 4-20 event

Annual pot protest-meets-festival in Vancouver attracted hundreds to vendors, concert

New funds, recruits set to alleviate B.C. sheriff shortage

The Government of British Columbia announced new sheriff graduates, funding for more classes

Video: RCMP investigation gets a deer little photobomb

Princeton RCMP were conducting a drug investigation in Princeton which a deer strolled through

Farnworth says five years too long for feds to deal with organized crime in medical pot

Needs to be dealt with much sooner than that, B.C. Public Safety Minister says

UPDATED: Unions, CP Rail come to agreement, avoiding work stoppage

Locomotive engineers, conductors and signals specialists seeking new collective agreements.

B.C. woman known to hitchhike around province missing

Aislynn Hanson, 18, last seen April 13; known to travel throughout B.C. by hitchhiking

B.C. court relies on Facebook to track down missing defendant

A court in Princeton, B.C. relied on Facebook to track down a B.C. missing his court date

Most Read