The federal government's surprise inclusion in this week's budget of additional taxes on tobacco products deserves attention as a likely boon to public smoking cessation efforts.
So far, much of the reactive focus to the news of the pending tax hike on cigarettes and related products has been directed toward the likelihood that this will fuel more smuggling of these materials into Canada — and more smokers turning to black market products.
Ottawa clearly anticipated criticism in this regard. Its coinciding budget announcement that it would be providing the RCMP with $92 million over five years to better battle tobacco smuggling was evidence of that.
The federal government is being criticized for underfunding what the RCMP will need to do this work effectively. We trust the RCMP and various local policing jurisdictions will provide input on whether they will have adequate resources to police this issue — which has already been a live one for years.