Tobacco tax increases help prevent youth initiation and provide additional motivation for all tobacco users to quit and/or reduce consumption.

In high-income countries like Canada, every 10% increase in the price of cigarettes results in a 6-12% decline in tobacco use among youth and disadvantaged populations.1

Due to a relevantly low tobacco tax rate and high wages, Alberta has the most affordable cigarettes of any province for youth ages 15 to 242 3

Alberta needs to increase cigarette prices by $1.50 per pack of 20 cigarettes to match current affordability levels in British Columbia and by $2.00 per pack to match affordability levels in Saskatchewan.

The Campaign for a Smoke-Free Alberta recommends that the Alberta government introduce a tobacco tax increase which would raise the purchase price of tobacco by at least 15% or $1.50 per pack of 20 cigarettes.

We also recommend that a portion of any future tax increase (at least $20 million annually) be allocated to fully implement the Alberta Tobacco Reduction Strategy which remains largely unfunded and unimplemented. Public opinion polls show that Albertans are more likely to support a tobacco tax increase if a portion of the revenue goes to tobacco reduction programs.

Work required for the average youth (age 15-24) to purchase a pack of 20 cigarettes4

Full text backgrounders


  1. World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe, 2014. Tobacco and Inequities: Guidance for Addressing Inequities in Tobacco-Related Harm.
  2. Tobacco tax data supplied by Rob Cunningham, Canadian Cancer Society, April 2017
  3. (March 2017 tables)
  4. Tobacco tax data supplied by Rob Cunningham, Canadian Cancer Society, April 2017
    Labour data accessed at: (March 2017 tables)