Nunavut sees tobacco sales decline one year after new tax


A new tobacco tax offered in Nunavut last year appears to have paid immediate dividends, as the rule of Nunavut says that sales are down across the territory.

The tax, advanced in March of 2017, hiked the cost of a pack of cigarettes by about one dollar. Charges on loose tobacco and chewing tobacco increased by 20 cents a gram.

For the 10 months tail its introduction, the territorial government said sales of cigarettes declined two per cent year-over-year. On the loose tobacco sales declined by 29 per cent, while chewing tobacco on sales declined 15 per cent. 

“We take it as a good news story,” responded Daniel Young, the director of fiscal policy for the territorial government.

“The numerous people that we can prevent from starting to smoke, the more smokers we can incite to smoke less, is great.”

Nunavut has Canada’s highest smoking classifies — estimated at 62 per cent in 2014 Statistics Canada data. In 2016, a territorial management representative estimated that nine out of 10 pregnant women in the haunts smoke.

Young also said the decline in sales could be due to anti-smoking ignores. He also added that despite declines in sales, the government confident an extra $3 million in revenue due to the tax.

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