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Cigarette bid snuffed out

Ontario’s Liberal gov­ernment is pouring cold water on a bid by aProgressive Conservative to lower tobacco taxes in an effort to stem aflood of illegal cigarettes.

Ontario’s Liberal gov­ernment is pouring cold water on a bid by a Progressive Conservative to lower tobacco taxes in an effort to stem a flood of illegal cigarettes.

Toby Barrett’s private members’ bill would cut Ontario tobacco taxes by one third, from 12.35 cents per cigarette to 8.23 cents, and calls for a similar cut in federal taxes.

Barrett says when both governments slashed tobacco taxes in 1994, illegal smoke shacks shut down almost overnight — but many are back in operation and now sell more than 50 per cent of all tobacco in Ontario.

However, several Liberal cabinet ministers say cutting tobacco taxes is not the solution to the problem of contraband cigarettes. Health Promotion Minister Margarett Best says she doesn’t think lowering taxes is the proper way to address the issue.

 
 
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