Grit decision to hike tobacco taxes will fuel smuggling: critics

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CORNWALL, Ontario - Today's provincial budget includes a hike in the amount of tax smokers will pay when purchasing cigarettes, which leads critics to suggest some will switch to contraband to save money.

Premier Kathleen Wynne's Liberal government budget, being read out in Queen's Park this afternoon, includes a tax hike on tobacco.

The cost of a carton of smokes is going up $3.25 effective immediately.

"It's an irresponsible decision on their part," said Sebastien Dolan, corporate affairs executive with Imperial Tobacco in Montreal. "There is a very serious contraband issue in Ontario.

"And all this is going to do is widen the gap between legal and illegal tobacco."

Those who purchase contraband tobacdco pay as little as $8 for a plastic bag containing 200 cigarettes, while a carton of legal smokes can run as high as $93.

More to come.

Organizations: Imperial Tobacco

Geographic location: Ontario, Queen's, Montreal

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