The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada is pushing the Federal government to impose a tax hike of between 20 and 30 percent on vapor products.
Senior Manager of Public Affairs Liz Scanlon stated that increasing taxes on vapor products would put them out of the financial reach of youth while still allowing adults to access the reduced harm alternative to cigarette smoking. Scanlon said:
“When it comes to cigarette taxes, the research is there to demonstrate that kids are … more likely to cut back or quit when prices go up.”
Ontario’s Health Minister Christine Elliot is reported to have grown increasingly concerned about rates of youth vaping in the province, and is set to announce legislative action against vaping by the end of the month, including a flavor ban, nicotine strength limit, and restrictions on where vapor products may be sold.
Three provinces have already levied taxes on vapor products: British Columbia, Alberta, and Prince Edward Island.
When queried about the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s proposed vapor products tax hike, the Ministry of Finance declined to comment other than to say that the Ministry, “does not speculate about taxation policy,” according to the CBC.
Scanlon stated that the Foundation is aware of the Ontario’s $7.4 billion deficit, and suggested that the hoped-for tax hike could provide Ontario with a needed revenue stream. Scanlon also noted that it could fund anti-vaping public awareness campaigns and more:
“We don’t have really good cessation programs for vaping. There isn’t a lot of public education coming out right now. There isn’t a lot of prevention programming. Enforcement is a huge issue. There are lots of areas where addressing this is going to involve spending some money.”
Defenders of vaping have pointed out that heavy taxation of vapor products could generate a black market of cheaper, potentially dangerously adulterated products, a massive net loss for public health. Scanlon has apparently taken note of that and concedes that:
“We certainly can’t make these products more expensive than cigarettes. That’s not our aim from a policy perspective.”