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Canadian Federal Government Hikes Cigarette Taxes

OTTAWA — Cigarette prices jump $4 a carton in several provinces Friday as part of a new federal tobacco strategy that also commits an extra $480 million for anti-smoking programs over five years.

“The government is fully committed to reducing tobacco use because of its consequences on the health of Canadians, particularly young Canadians,” Finance Minister Paul Martin said in making the announcement Thursday.

The sales tax on cigarettes was to rise $4 a carton at midnight Thursday night in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island — the provinces with the lowest cigarette taxes.

Health Minister Allan Rock said smoking is the “most pressing public health issue in the country,” killing 45,000 people a year. “Each and every year, smoking kills more Canadians than accidents, murder, suicide and alcohol combined,” he said.

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