Rising Smuggling of Tobacco Exposes Serious Issue in Saskatchewan, Canada

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Rising Smuggling of Tobacco Exposes Serious Issue in Saskatchewan, Canada
Illegal tobacco trade in Saskatchewan reaches alarming levels as smuggling increases and tobacco tax revenue plummets.

According to a CNW Group report on September 25th, recent findings in Saskatchewan, Canada reveal an alarming increase in the quantity of smuggled cigarettes and a decrease in tobacco tax revenue. This indicates that the province is not immune to the escalating problem of illicit tobacco in Western Canada. Urgent government attention is required to address this issue.


On August 31st, the Saskatchewan Highway Patrol (SHP) seized 1.9 million illegal cigarettes during a traffic interception. In June, the Saskatoon Police Service announced the largest-ever seizure of illegal tobacco, with 950,000 cigarettes confiscated. In November 2022, a checkpoint intercepted 5.4 million illegal cigarettes, followed by another seizure of 6.6 million illegal cigarettes by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Department of Finance a month later.


Further evidence of the expanding illicit trade can be found in the public accounts of the province between 2022 and 2023. According to the province's account report, tobacco tax revenue amounted to $164,263,000, significantly lower than the projected revenue of $198,900,000. This represents the worst performance for Saskatchewan since 2013, with a gap of $36.4 million or 83% below the predicted income.


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