I was talking to some sources this past week, and cigarette prices have almost returned to normal here in Cornwall. Before the bridge closure wholesale prices for cases of 50 bags were about $175- $250 or $3.50-$5 per bag which the sellers would then market at $10-$15 per bag.
At the peak of the bridge crisis case prices rose to over $1000 per case with most of the product heading to major outlets outside of Montreal or closer to Toronto leaving many Cornwall sellers with no product at all. Now case prices are about $250 with no supply issue.
What seems to have happened is that it’s costing the smugglers more to get them into Canada and that cost is simply staying in the price which still is a lot less than buying legal cigarettes. The difficult part for Canada is that the high cost of law enforcement makes actions on the river expensive and not long term.
Captured cigarettes are destroyed and it costs a lot of money to prosecute those that they do catch with no real financial returns. In other words the cost of law enforcement and prosecution are too expensive to have any long term results.
Either new laws need to be implemented which would still be expensive to enforce or a new head space needs to evolve in how to deal with illegal cigarettes and the health care costs associated with them.
For example. If cigarettes and tobacco were reclassified to be a prescription only drug then they could be better controlled by the government. Likewise those suffering from the medical effects of smoking illegal cigarettes could have the available medical services restricted thus giving real issue to smokers to not smoke illegal cigarettes.
These “medically” prescribed cigarettes of course would have to be sold at market rates similar to that of medical marijuana for example thus preventing the desire to purchase illegal cigarettes. IE not taxed to the degree that cigarettes currently are.
I think the goal is to have less smokers than more in the long run as health care costs are huge. That being said the government has a role to play in not only helping people quit smoking, but also to help those that can’t.
Prohibition never works, and right now from what I’ve read and seen we have more younger smokers evolving which is never a good thing. Knowing that there are real ramifications for using illegal cigarettes, and positive action taken to either eradicate the smoking habit or control supply seem to me a much more realistic and conservative way to deal with the issue financially.
What do you think Cornwall?
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