A Taxing Dilemma: Assessing the Impact of Tax and Price Changes on the Tobacco Market
Sales of contraband cigarettes in Canada constitute a sizable component of the tobacco market. This illegal trade is associated with a loss in tax revenue and an array of illicit activities that involve gangs and organized crime. Various policy responses have been called for to counter this state of affairs. Increased policing and controls have resulted in the market share of the illegal product declining significantly to about 20 percent in 2010 from about one-third two years earlier. In addition to allocating more resources in order to control the problem, governments have been urged to lower tobacco taxes in the belief that lower relative prices for the legal product will induce smokers to switch in significant numbers away from the illegal supply source, perhaps also increasing tax revenues. This report analyzes the impact of tax and price changes on the composition of the cigarette market in the context of a demand-driven analytical model, in which smokers shift between legal and illegal products to a significant degree.
Volume (Year): (2012)
Issue (Month): 350 (May)
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