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Feds want to make tobacco companies help fund efforts to curb smoking rates – National

By admin Nov24,2023

Major tobacco companies may soon be required to help foot the bill of government efforts to reduce Canada’s smoking rates, according to the Liberals’ fall economic statement.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled the 2023 fiscal update on Tuesday, which included a proposal to “amend the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act to enable the fixing of fees, levies or charges, and related compliance and enforcement tools to implement a tobacco cost recovery framework.”

According to the 2023 federal budget, the tobacco cost recovery framework would “benefit all Canadians by increasing the tobacco industry’s role and accountability in funding the tobacco control activities supported through Canada’s Tobacco Strategy.”

Canada’s Tobacco Strategy aims to achieve a target of less than five per cent of tobacco use by 2035. Part of that includes funding programs to explore the most effective ways to help Canadians quit smoking.

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Following the release of the fiscal update, the Canadian Cancer Society expressed its support for an annual cost recovery fee for tobacco companies.

“The tobacco industry has caused the tobacco epidemic and should reimburse the federal government’s cost of responding to it,” said Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst with the Canadian Cancer Society, in a media release. “A fee is a significant means of tobacco industry accountability.”

The Canadian Cancer Society has long championed the implementation of a cost recovery program, asserting that such a program would generate an additional $66 million in annual government revenue. This figure includes vaping control initiatives.

The imposition of a tobacco company recovery fee is not unique to Canada.

Since 2009, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has required an annual fee on tobacco industries to recover the department’s tobacco control budget. According to the FDA’s website, this recovery program generates an annual revenue of US$712 million.

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And in Canada, an annual fee has been imposed on the cannabis industry since 2018 to cover the federal government’s expenses associated with cannabis legislation, education and program management initiatives.

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“The cost recovery fee complements other federal tobacco control measures including plain packaging, tobacco taxation, and a new round of health warnings including warnings on each individual cigarette,” Cunningham said.

Other health organizations were also quick to applaud the government’s proposal.

The Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation on Tuesday called it “important legislation that will help save lives.”

“We urge them to move forward with it quickly,” said Doug Roth, CEO of the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, in a media release.

“Tobacco kills 46,000 people in Canada every year. It’s time for tobacco companies to pitch in and mitigate the devastation wrought by their dangerous, addictive products and to turn the tide on smoking in Canada for good.”

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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