Saskatchewan Fight against Cigarette Restrictions

Published on September 2nd, 2010 11:14

The measures they are taking may last from two till three years and all this happens because of the situation our First Nation people are in. I don’t believe that we can wait from two to three years to get it resolved,” stated Lerat. “I consider that there are other measures we may implement in order to simplify the change.

“You probably could make the case that we are discriminated due to our rights”, stated Cowessess Chief Grady Lerat. On July 1, the changes to on-reserve entered into force. The amount of cigarettes purchased without tax by First Nations individuals on reserves was cut down from three cartons to one carton

Lerat declared that it is still too early to see the impact the proposed changes will have on his reserve’s businesses.

Within months he will face a clear picture of the impacts the given changes are having on his business.

“Such changes will a have a negative impact on First Nations-owned businesses”, declared Myke Agecoutay, vice-president of the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council. “There is no other nation that would have economic sanctions placed on them”, he said.

tobacco smokers

One more change that customers will notice is a change in the brands of cigarettes that can be purchased with exemption from charges.

Packs of the cigarettes and fine cut tobacco purchased tax exempt on reserve by Status Indians will have peach-colored pull strip markings, also known by the industry as black-stock tobacco. It is specially used to distinguish them from the beige-colored pull strip used on tobacco products sold with tax included.

The black-stock tobacco can not be sold to individuals that are not eligible for exemption from taxation.

Many manufacturers even prefer not to use the peach-colored pull strip on their cigarettes. This means that namely these tobacco products are not eligible for the tax exemption, according to the province.

Lists of those tobacco products that can be purchased tax-exempt by those who have a valid Certificate of Indian Status Card are already appearing in First Nations-owned businesses.

“The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations is working in present on a new tobacco strategy”, stated Lerat.

“The measures they are taking may last from two till three years and all this happens because of the situation our First Nation people are in. I don’t believe that we can wait from two to three years to get it resolved,” stated Lerat. “I consider that there are other measures we may implement in order to simplify the change.”

In accordance to the province, these changes were all part of its whole tobacco strategy, that was intended to lessen cigarette usage in Saskatchewan.

“In case the government is worried about the health of First Nations people, then they should invest a substantial sum of money into diabetes programs throughout Saskatchewan, instead of initiating policies that isolate economic development”, disagrees Agecoutay.

By Joanna Johnson, Staff Writer. Copyright © 2010 TobaccoPub.com. All rights reserved.

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