Tobacco Info

From Tobacco Info No. 6 - July 2011
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Tobacco taxes upped

In the New Brunswick budget delivered in March, tobacco taxes were increased by $10.50 per carton of 200 cigarettes, with the provincial tax per carton increasing from $23.50 to $34. 

For roll-your-own tobacco, taxes are increased by $5.25 per 200 cigarettes (100g). This is the first tobacco tax increase in New Brunswick since 2002. The 13% HST in New Brunswick (8% provincial, 5% federal) will contribute to some additional price increases.

On April 1, 2011, inflation adjustments to tobacco taxes in the Northwest Territories came into force.  Based on the formula used, tobacco taxes increased by $2.40 per carton of 200 cigarettes and by $3 per 200 roll-your-own cigarettes (100g).  Even before this increase, the Northwest Territories had the highest cigarette taxes in Canada.  (See map below.)

The PEI government in April announced in its budget that tobacco taxes will increase by $5.90 per carton of 200 cigarettes and by $3.29 per 200 roll-your-own cigarettes (100g). PEI will have the highest cigarette taxes of any province, though the Northwest Territories is still higher.

The Manitoba budget was delivered on April 12.  Manitoba increased tobacco taxes by $4 per carton of 200 cigarettes, and $2 per 200 roll-your-own cigarettes (100g).


New Canadian health warnings

In February, the government of Canada unveiled its proposal for new regulations to strengthen tobacco labelling requirements. The proposed new messages and labelling requirements were published in the Canada Gazette, Part I. Public consultation on the proposal closed on May 5.

On June 9, Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq tabled the Tobacco Products Labelling Regulations (Cigarettes and Little Cigars). The implementation date has been modified to 180 days after the regulations come into force at the manufacturer or importer level and 270 days at the retailer level.

If the regulations do not receive final approval before the summer break, then the implementation will be delayed by a minimum of three months.

Key features of the proposed regulations include new graphic health warning messages covering 75% of the front and back of cigarette and little cigar packages; new health information messages that are enhanced with the use of colour and graphic elements; a pan-Canadian toll-free quit line number and web portal to inform tobacco users about the availability of smoking cessation services, subject to provincial/territorial agreement; and easier to understand toxic emissions statements.

Some controversy surrounded the announcement as it was initially reported that Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq had shelved the idea of renewing and updating health warnings on cigarette packages in the fall of 2010, only to announce in December a plan to improve the health warnings following pressure from multiple health, media and political sources.


CCS releases statistics for 2011

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) released its statistics report for 2011 on May 18 with an emphasis on colorectal cancer, but there were some interesting results in regards to smoking–related cancers.

According to the CCS, declines in the incidence rates of certain cancers have been attributed, at least in part, to a decline in smoking in Canada.

Incidence rates of larynx cancer are significantly decreasing for both males (-3.8% per year) and females (-3.4% per year), while mortality rates for males only show a significant decline of 6.1% since 2001.

Declines have occurred in the incidence rates of oral cancer in males (-1% per year) and mortality rates in both males and females (-2.4% per year and -1.9%, respectively). Incidence rates of stomach cancer are declining in both sexes (-2% per year in males and -1.5% per year in females.)

Quitting smoking also has a positive effect on colorectal cancer, says the CCS. Based on current knowledge, avoiding smoking and minimizing alcohol consumption can help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer in combination with a healthy diet.

Caused almost exclusively by smoking, lung cancer remains the deadliest. It will kill 11,300 men and 9,300 women in Canada in 2011, according to the CCS; an average of 56 deaths per day.

For the full report, please visit the CCS’s website at


Smoke-free campus

The Non-Smokers’ Rights Association (NSRA), along with the Smoking on Health and Action Fund, developed a guidebook to help post-secondary schools go smoke-free. The Tobacco-Free Campus Guide aims to help students, faculty and staff increase support for the creation or improvement of tobacco-free measures at post-secondary schools.

Using a selection of the best examples from colleges and universities in Canada and elsewhere, the guide outlines how to develop, implement and support a comprehensive tobacco-free campus, including protection from second-hand smoke and a ban on the use of all forms of tobacco except within designated smoking areas, and if feasible, everywhere on campus; an end to all forms of tobacco sales and promotion on campus; and an ethically and socially responsible mandatory standard that ensures that the institution, its staff and students are not associated with the tobacco industry.

Visit the NSRA’s website for more info:


New stamps on packs

New federal tax-paid stamps have been appearing on cigarette packages sold in retail stores.  The stamps were required at the manufacturer/importer level as of April 1, 2011.

The stamps are 2 cm x 4 cm.  On slide and shell packages, based on packs seen from the three major manufacturers, the stamps have been placed so that the stamp covers part of the bottom and part of the back of the pack.  On flip top packages, the stamp has been placed to cover the top right side of the package (placed vertically, to cover the top of the hinge lid opening).  The stamp is placed so as to be broken when the package is opened.