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Cigarette Sales and Sources

Cigarette Sales

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.” These data are outlined below, and available in full at: http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/publications/healthy-living-vie-saine/wholesale-sales-2015-tobacco-tabac-ventes-en-gros/index-eng.php.

In 2015, cigarette sales in Canada totaled over 29 billion sticks (29,032,568,898), down from over 42 billion in 2001. Figure 3.1 shows total cigarette sales for Canada, from 2001-2015. Total sales generally declined until 2008, when there appeared to be a slight increase for a couple of years before leveling off. 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 2001v to nearly 36 million in 2015.vi

 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. See data table with 95% confidence intervals below.

Figure 3.2 shows sales data for 2015 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 over 10 billion cigarettes, followed by Quebec with nearly 7 billion, and Alberta with over 4 billion.

 Cigarette sales, by province/territory, 2015. Data Source: Health Canada, 2017 (as reported by tobacco companies under Tobacco Reporting Regulations) Notes: total sales not adjusted for population size (i.e., not “per capita”) Health Canada advises that there are three important factors to consider when using these data: 1. The data are subject to ongoing revision due to re-submissions by tobacco companies and/or audits by Health Canada. 2. Sales represent shipments to wholesalers or retailers in a province/territory. Sales totals may not be representative of tobacco consumption for that province/territory. 3. 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. See data table with 95% confidence intervals below.

Table 3.1 shows yearly cigarette sales by province/territory from 2001 to 2015. Overall, sales have decreased in all provinces/territories during this time.

 Cigarette sales (in thousands*), by province/territory, 2001-2015. Data source: Health Canada, 2017 (as reported by tobacco companies under Tobacco Reporting Regulations); see notes above. *Rounded to nearest thousand. Exact figures may be found in original source. See data table with 95% confidence intervals below.

Download table 3.1 cigarette sales (in thousands), by province/territory, 2001-2015 (.xlsx)