Nova Scotia - buying smuggled tobacco you encourage organized crime..

April 8, 2009 - How often have you heard smokers use the justification that they pay enough taxes to cover their health care costs? Up until five years ago in Nova Scotia, that equation held true. In 2004-05, the government raked in $178 million in tobacco taxes while the direct cost of smoking to the health-care system is estimated at $170 million a year.

But this justification no longer holds. Illegal cigarettes have taken over one-third of the market in record time and cost federal and provincial governments $2.5 billion in lost revenue last year (2008). Nova Scotia’s tobacco-tax take is down by about $40 million. At this rate, the health care system may not be there to take care of you or your loved ones.

The contraband wave has left authorities drowning in indecision. Should they cut tobacco taxes, essentially declare war on the Mohawk reserves straddling the U.S.-Canada border that serve as safe havens for smugglers, ratchet up penalties, press the U.S. into action, or any combination thereof?

Reference: Smuggled cigarettes: Contraband’s deadly combo, The, 4/5/2009.

Related news briefs: Ontario Businessmen - want government to crack down on illegal cigarettes..; Imperial Tobacco Canada - slow illegal cigarettes/sue tobacco companies.., As tobacco prices rise - increase in illegal cigarette trafficing.., Taxes to fund SCHIP may slow illegal cigarettes into Canada.., Canada - Obama visit - help STOP cigarette smuggling from U.S..; Canada economic recession losing billions in unpaid tobacco taxes..; Canada - Police arrest 46 in tobacco crackdown..; Imperial Tobacco Survey - Canadian Illegal Tobacco Trade..; Canada - Introduction of Tobacco Stamp to combat contraband ..; Canada tobacco firms admit aiding smuggling...