OTTAWA, Ontario - The Canadian government announced yesterday that, effective July 1, all tobacco products for sale anywhere in the Canadian market must carry the federal excise stamp. No person shall sell, offer for sale, or possess these tobacco products unless they are stamped in accordance with the Excise Act of 2001. Any person who contravenes this requirement is liable to a fine, imprisonment, or both.
The excise stamp indicates that federal excise duty has been paid and that the product was manufactured legally. It has state-of-the-art visible and hidden identifiers and security features similar to those found on Canadian banknotes, such as unique color-shift ink that changes from red to green when the stamp is tilted. The stamp also has hidden security features that only federal and provincial law enforcement agencies can detect.
These features allow law enforcement agencies, retailers and consumers to more easily identify counterfeit and contraband tobacco products. The federal excise stamp is distributed through a secure process administered by the Canada Revenue Agency.
Since April 1, 2011, the new excise tobacco stamp has been mandatory on all new tobacco products destined for the Canadian duty-paid market. However, for a limited transition period following that date, tobacco products in the market place were still allowed to have the former tear-tapes or paper stamps until inventories of the older products were depleted.
As of July 1, the transition period will be over, and cigarettes, tobacco sticks, and fine-cut tobacco products for sale anywhere in the Canadian market must carry the federal excise stamp to be legal. To accommodate the longer shelf life of cigars, tear-tapes or paper stamps can continue to be used for a limited period of time.