Budget: Quebec is still trailing behind in tobacco taxes and the Canadian Cancer Society is disappointed with the continuing situation

21 March 2016

Montreal -

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) is disappointed that the Couillard government and Finance Minister Carlos Leitão have put off increasing provincial taxes in the budget presented yesterday. “Cancer is the leading cause of death in Quebec and we foresee an increase in the number of cases by 35% in 15 years. Tobacco alone accounts for a third of all cancer deaths. Increasing taxes on tobacco is one of the essential measures in the fight against cancer because it’s one of the most effective ways to reduce tobacco consumption, which kills one in two users,” says Suzanne Dubois, Executive Director, CCS – Quebec Division.

According to the World Health Organization, increasing taxes is very effective in preventing youths from starting to smoking, convincing smokers to quit and preventing relapses in ex-smokers. Based on the Finance Ministry’s own figures, for instance a $5 increase per cigarette pack can lead to around 63,000 people quitting smoking. “The fact that Quebec continues to sell the cheapest tobacco in Canada lets teenagers fall easy prey to the tobacco trap,” says Mélanie Champagne, Director, Public Issues.

So, the CCS would like to ask the minister to correct the situation in the months to come by increasing provincial taxes on tobacco by at least $5 per pack. Such an increase would bring an additional revenue of $144 million and substantial savings in healthcare costs. “The fight against tobacco is indispensable to the fight against cancer. The most effective way to reduce tobacco addiction is to reduce the desire to buy cigarettes in the first place,” says Suzanne Dubois. “Increasing provincial taxes is one of the best tools that the government has.”

Every day the Canadian Cancer Society works to save more lives. With the support of thousands of Quebecers, donors and volunteers, it fights to prevent more cancers, enable our researchers to make more discoveries and help more people living with the disease. Let’s save more lives.

André Beaulieu
Senior Advisor, Communication
Canadian Cancer Society
Quebec Division
Cell phone: 514 217-8327

Mélanie Champagne
Director, Public Issues
Quebec Division
Canadian Cancer Society
Cell phone: 514 651-1470