Since 2001, tobacco companies have been required by the Tobacco Reporting Regulations to provide Health Canada with reports on sales of tobacco products. Health Canada has released this sales data, which represent “shipments from tobacco companies in a province or territory, but do not include estimates of illicit tobacco sales.”iii These data are outlined below, and available in full at: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/publications/healthy-living/federal-provincial-territorial-tobacco-sales-data/page-2.html and from Health Canada.
In 2021, cigarette sales in Canada totaled nearly 21 billion sticks (20,906,599,707), down from over 42 billion in 2001. Figure 3.1 shows total cigarette sales for Canada, from 2001-2021. Total sales generally declined until 2008, when sales increased for a couple of years before leveling off, and then again declining in recent years. These overall sales figures do not take into account population size; on a per capita basis, sales have continued to decline over this time, as population grew from approximately 31 million in 2001iv to nearly 37 million in 2021.v
Figure 3.1 Data Table with 95% Confidence Intervals
Data Source: Health Canada, 2022 (as reported by tobacco companies under Tobacco Reporting Regulations, Section 13).
NOTES: total sales not adjusted for population SIZE (i.e., not “per capita”).
These data are subject to ongoing revision due to re-submissions by tobacco companies and/or audits by Health Canada.
Sales by province/territory
Figure 3.2 shows sales data for 2021 by province/territory. Again, this does not adjust for population size, but represents the size of the cigarette market in each province/territory. Ontario has the highest cigarette sales, at more than 7.4 billion cigarettes, followed by Quebec with nearly 5.9 billion, and Alberta with nearly 2.4 billion.
Figure 3.2 Data Table with 95% Confidence Intervals
Data Source: Health Canada, 2022 (as reported by tobacco companies under Tobacco Reporting Regulations); see notes above
Additional notes that Health Canada advises considering when using these data.
- Sales represent shipments to wholesalers or retailers in a province/territory. Sales totals may not be representative of tobacco consumption for that province/territory.
- In certain cases, provincial/territorial sales were not reportable due to a limited number of companies active in that market. In these cases, the data were merged into a larger geographical grouping.
Table 3.1 shows yearly cigarette sales by province/territory from 2001 to 2021. Overall, sales have decreased during this time in all provinces/territories.