The tax on a package of cigarettes is going from CAD 4.50 to $5.25 (EUR 3.3 to 3.8, USD 4.4 to 5.1). Taxes on cut/loose tobacco are going up by 21 cents per gram and cigars by 100 per cent of the retail price, subject to the existing minimum and maximum tax amounts per cigar.

  In what will likely be the most controversial move, subject to the passing of legislation, First Nations individuals could be seeing a significant decrease in the amount of cigarettes they can purchase tax-free. If the government gets its way, on-reserve, tax-free cigarette purchases will be limited to one carton per customer per week -- down from three.

  "This is a serious infringement on Treaty Rights without the benefit of meaningful consultation," FSIN Vice Chief Morley Watson said in a written statement. "The Province has extended its authority beyond its jurisdiction. The Province is unilaterally changing quotas on how much tobacco First Nations people can purchase. This is Indian Agent mentality. The old Indian Agent would tell us how much grain, wood, fence posts and other goods we could produce and provide for our families."

  NDP health critic Judy Junor wasn't enthusiastic about either the proposed legislation or the increase in tobacco tax. While she acknowledged tax increases do lead to decreased smoking, she claimed the decrease is "marginal."

  "People will just do without something else," she said. "People who are truly addicted, they're going to go find another way to get the cigarettes and that will be less food, shelter costs, clothing, school supplies, whatever."

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