Affordability

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

Footnotes

  1. World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe, 2014. Tobacco and Inequities: Guidance for Addressing Inequities in Tobacco-Related Harm.http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/247640/tobacco-090514.pdf?ua=1
  2. Tobacco tax data supplied by Rob Cunningham, Canadian Cancer Society, April 2017
  3. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/labr69a-eng.htm (March 2017 tables)
  4. Tobacco tax data supplied by Rob Cunningham, Canadian Cancer Society, April 2017 Labour data accessed at: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/labr69a-eng.htm (March 2017 tables)