No Plain Packaging for Cigars and Pipe Tobacco in Canada

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Health Canada is currently planning to bring in plain packaging for all tobacco products in Canada, including premium cigars and pipe tobacco. It warrants asking: What good this accomplishes?  They’re censoring product that already exists in a dark market.  Censoring products sold in adult only dedicated tobacconists already blackened from public view.  Beyond picking on and discriminating against a tiny percentage of the Canadian population for no significant gain, what do they accomplish?

It will not lower smoking rates however the unintended consequences are significant. 

It will infringe on the personal rights of individuals.  Premium cigars and pipe tobacco are consumed exclusively by Canadian adults.  Despite representing less than 5% of tobacco consumption in Canada; Cigarillos, Cigars and Pipe Tobacco face punitive and excessive taxes, graphic harassment on packaging and more regulation than nearly any other product in Canada.  Health Canada has succeeded in educating individuals on the risk and those that choose to use the product should be allowed to do so freely.  The notion that a cigar smoker would choose a particular cigar based on packaging shows their ignorance of the product and the consumers.  Taste is king, cost is second.  Packaging is rarely considered.  The packaging is part of a rich and beautiful heritage but is not the driving force of sales.

It will cost more tax dollars that will have to be spent enforcing and implementing these regulations for no gain.  Health Canada funding that could be used to invest in our very cash strapped health care system.  It will be directly responsible for eliminating small and independent businesses across the country that depend on tourist spending.  What tourist will want to give a gift that looks nothing like it should?  Crushing companies that generate more tax revenue per dollar earned than any other industry in Canada.   

It will blossom an already significant Black Market.  Every action like this drives consumers to shop outside of Canada or on the Black Market within, eliminating tax revenue and hurting the independent shops and distributors that sell this product.  The amount of tobacco consumed by Canadians outside of the legal, tax generating system is fast eclipsing what is purchased domestically.  Actions like this encourage a Black Market and help it to grow and thrive, eliminating billions of dollars in tax revenue. 

The government keeps citing England as a model that they’re following, but England omitted premium tobacco products from their plain packaging policy after careful consideration.  Why ignore that?

This is moving towards prohibition and prohibition has proven not to work.  Enough is enough.  It’s ironic and hypocritical that a government in the midst of repealing prohibition for marijuana is marching towards it for a different product.  Do we not have greater concerns the government should be focusing on than a small segment of the population that enjoys the finer consumption of tobacco?  Is this the society we want to live in?  Where everything that doesn't fit into a 'healthy' world as narrowly envisioned by bureaucrats and policy makers far removed from everyday Canadians is regulated to the point of being eliminated?  If that's the case then we should start seeing the same regulations for alcohol, marijuana, sugary drinks, fatty foods, violent sports, cars, television, arts.... Individuals have to be able to make their own lifestyle choices without the government interjecting at an invasive level.  Society should be a place that lets people indulge in luxuries that give their life enjoyment.  That is a healthy society.  Not this tyrannical world they're working to create that values a dull long life over a life truly lived.



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