REALity June 2018 Ottawa, ON
It is well known that both tobacco and marijuana are bad for one’s health.
Why then is the federal government taking differing approaches to the sale of these two harmful products?
1. 70% of retail price of cigarettes is due to the taxes on the sales of tobacco. The sale of illegal tobacco is roughly 20-25% of the market. These black market sales amount to $1.2 billion dollars in lost taxes annually.
2. 75% of cigarette packaging is covered by health warnings and packages are hidden from view in stores; logos prohibited.
3. No branding of cigarette packages is permitted. Health Canada plans to standardize the shape, size and appearance of cigarettes and is studying putting health warnings on individual cigarettes and using a sliding shell for every cigarette with the health warning.
4. Most market activity, including advertising, or any promotional information, is banned for the
sale of cigarettes.
1. Government says it plans to keep taxes low
in order to compete with criminal sales of the drug.
2. Marijuana products are required to have plain wrapping and require a health warning; a logo is permitted.
3. Edible marijuana products, such as brownies
and beer, will be legal and marketed.
4. Branding is allowed for marijuana products in order to distinguish them from illegal alternatives. T-shirts and hats, etc. can be used to promote the brand.
5. The Tragically Hip music group and the Trailer Park Boys have been signed on as brand ambassadors for marijuana products.
In 2014-2015, the Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drug Survey, found that 3% of youth are daily or occasional smokers of cigarettes, but 17% of youth have used marijuana in the past year. According to the British Lung Foundation (BLF), “smoking three or four marijuana joints is as bad for your lungs as smoking twenty tobacco cigarettes”. A study, conducted at the University of Adelaide in Australia, found that women who use marijuana more than double their risk of giving birth to a baby prematurely. A study this year at the Universite de Montreal found that boys who started smoking marijuana before 15 years of age were 65% more likely to be addicted by 28 years of age.
The website of Health Canada lists the many medical and psychological problems that arise with marijuana use.
The 2018 federal budget included $80 million to encourage people to stop smoking tobacco, yet it included 10 times that amount to get individuals to start smoking marijuana by contributing $800 million towards the marijuana legalization campaign.
Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor introduced Bill S-5 to standardize plain packaging for cigarettes. She stated [Hill Times April 18, 2008]:
I’m hoping we’ll see that piece of legislation get through the House by the end of June 2018 because we certainly recognize that those types of measures are absolutely key to preventing … people from smoking
The number of tobacco smokers currently in Canada is 15% of the population and the Minister of Health Petipas Taylor hopes to reduce it to 5% by 2035. Why is the government intent on reducing the smoking of cigarettes, but encouraging the smoking of marijuana? Common sense and logic are not obvious in Trudeau’s marijuana policy.