Where there’s Smoke there’s Illegal Cigarettes – Tobacco Giant Phillip Morris Enters Tobacco Wars – Cornwall Ontario – April 19, 2010

Cornwall ON – The Tobacco Wars are heating up as Giant Phillip Morris enters the fray.  The Owner of brands such as Marlboro is funding advertisements against Native Cigarettes which already are under fire as they are smuggled into Canada as well as areas in the US and impacting the model of high taxation to pay for the medical costs of the victims of smoking.


At first glance, the ad’s Web site – collectthetaxny.com – may give the impression that the “we” referred to is a citizens’ group, but the “paid for by” attribution and site reveal that Collect the Tax New York is supported by Altria Client Services, Philip Morris’ parent company, and the New York Association of Convenience Stores – the arch enemies of Indian country cigarette retailers with whom the convenience stores compete.

Native-manufactured cigarettes have a cost advantage over Philip Morris products. Currently, Marlboros cost $65 a carton while Native-manufactured Niagara brand cigarettes cost $32 a carton.

While in Akwesasne recently the price of a bag of Native Cigarettes was $17 and the street price here in Cornwall Ontario is now about $20 from a low of $6 prior to the Seaway International Bridge Crisis.

Akwesasne is one of the biggest producers of legal and illegal native cigarettes which are transported all over the US and Canada.

We are going to be doing a four part series on the cigarette industry and its impact locally here in Cornwall Ontario and outside of our region.

You may send inquiries to info@cornwallfreenews or reach us at 613.361.1755.

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  1. why is it illegeal to sell cigarettes in this manner? Is it taxes, maybe, is it industry lost revenue possibly. But other then a law used to monitor and maintain revenue why is it illegal? Should the law be revisited?

    Samething applies for Alcohol, bust up the LCBO, It like the smoke group Cannot remember the name) is nothing more then a bunch of manufacturers telling people what and how they should consume. It is kind of like the fox sitting the hen house

  2. The only interest the government has in the illegal smokes is that they haven’t received any tax for them.
    Same thing with illegal booze. It’s all about money.

  3. Here we have an addictive drug. The addicts have a choice of paying about ten bucks a day to the government for their fix, or about two bucks a day to somebody else for the same thing. I know where I’d be buying my fix.

  4. Funny that “legal and illegal” means paying taxes and not paying taxes. Once the government is paid for a factory can avoid the boat and car chase with a simple wave of a permission slip — taxes paid. While the production of cigarettes is not illegal, the means by which canadians get their smokes can be. In order for canadians to buy legal “Native Cigarettes” Canada would have to end their embargo on natives and allow canadians to import, or the natives would have to register as canadian companies, pay taxes, and only sell to licensed canadian retailers. Both solutions would raise prices and endanger established monopolies on the canadian market.

    With all the highbrow posturing by canadian conservatives it is strange that smokers are the only ones dabbling with free-markets. The products and prices offered by the natives are a principled alternative to the monopolies and collaborations that control Canada’s market economy. It seems that when it comes to natives conservative do not hesitate to insist on more government internvention, regulation, and restrictions on commerce.

  5. Actually, smokers save government (overall) money because they die earlier. Viscusi has documented this time and time again, yet the myth is still put out there by anti-smoking groups.

    Furthermore, Howard, you are imposing your own moral judgement on what is good behavior and bad behavior. The tax should be set to correspond with the optimal Pigouvian level and nothing more. Beyond that, it’s tyranny and should not be tolerated in a free society.

    Suppose some Republican pushed for an abortion tax. Liberals would be up in arms saying that such a tax violates womens rights (her body), but apparently that doesn’t apply to what you smoke according to these same liberals.

    You are wrong to say that just because it would reduce smoking
    that it’s a good thing…people get utility out of smoking. If you want to make a systematically irrational argument and appeal to internalities, you can do that. But you don’t. You just go with the typical anti-tobacco nanny-state nonsense and say “I think this is bad, so let’s tax it.”

  6. Vicky, one might further argue that smoking is tyranny (by forcing others to breathe your smoke) and should not be tolerated in a free society.

  7. Vicky as an ex-smoker myself I can tell you that I feel it’s a crime against humanity perpetuated by governments and the tobacco companies. Millions of people have been murdered by the effects of smoking.

    My own father died of the effect of smoking. I’m watching my mother prematurely suffer from smoking and I as a child grew up in a house with smokers and have probably had years sheared off of my own life because if the impacts of tobacco.

    Again, there’s no accountability in our society anymore unless you’ve offended those that probably are the worst offenders of lack of accountability.

    Tobacco should be considered a poison. Smokers should be offered the option of treatment or if they can’t quit or refuse to tobacco should be a prescription. New smokers should be punished or limited.

    The cost of tobacco against society should not have to be borne by its victims.

  8. Y’know, it IS kind of bitch that they won’t legalize native cigarettes.
    Oh well, because they can’t afford the chickens in the beerbong deal.
    Does it matter ?
    The chickns in the beerbong deal is $6 for a carton of natives where I live.
    The only reason people buy natives is because they can’t afford brandnames.
    Which would you prefer?
    A carton(200cigs) of natives? Or a 20/25 pack of brandname cigarettes?

  9. I love how its ok if people buy philip morris products and pay the taxes but not if they buy native smokes. You think the gvmt sends the taxes towards the health system? Both products cause the same health issues, warnings or not. So why is the government supporting the product that pays taxes and not the other one… y’all know the answer…. greed

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