Native Cigarettes Canada and the Tobacco Tax Debate


Native Cigarettes Canada are produced by a tribe-owned company, which means that each purchase supports the First Nations community. These smokes use locally-sourced burley and flue-cured tobaccos to offer an authentic tobacco experience without the additional chemicals found in commercial brands. As a result, these cigarettes are much cheaper to produce, allowing them to be sold at an affordable price. Moreover, Native smokes are available in bulk or discounted packs which allow customers to save even more!

At the factory on Kahnawake Mohawk territory, a worker feeds pungent, raw tobacco into a noisy machine that prepares it for final assembly. Outside authorities call this contraband, but locals see it as their inherent right to self-determination. It’s hard to see the logic behind the tussle, but it’s a debate that will likely continue.

Exploring the History of Native Cigarettes in Canada

The government, however, has its own argument. Its high tobacco taxes are unpopular, but they’re essential to keep smoking rates low, according to Mary Stambulic, manager of advocacy and stakeholder relations for B.C. and Yukon at Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada. High taxes also encourage people to buy regulated products, which are often safer.

The smoke shacks that proliferate on most reserves, however, make it hard for the government to collect its tobacco tax. They sell home-made cigarettes at a fraction of the cost of Canadian and US brands, and they’re often cheaper than legal products bought at convenience stores and gas stations. And they’re often the only option for the underage. In Toronto, 264 charges were laid last year against retail shops that sold to minors—and many of those cases involved illegal cigarettes.


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