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TORONTO -- Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty wants to raise tobacco taxes in his province and wants Quebec to follow suit in order to prevent smuggling across the provincial border, according to a report by CBC News.
Currently, Ontario and Quebec have the lowest cigarette prices in Canada, but the new tax hikes could bring a carton of 200 cigarettes to C$75, published reports say.
There are 12,000 deaths a year in Canada from smoking, costing the economy more than $4 billion annually, according to McGuinty, and the throne speech of the province's new Liberal government on Thursday is expected to announce a provincewide smoking ban in workplaces and indoor public spaces, according to the report. Many cities have imposed smoking restrictions in bars, restaurants and public buildings, but this would be the country's first provincewide ban.
Both the tobacco tax hike and the smoking ban were part of the Liberals' election platform, but they also promised to ban countertop and behind-the-counter displays of tobacco product. However, a similar law in Saskatchewan was struck down in October.