Tobacco manufacturing revenues in Canada topped $1.4 billion in 2007. ((Shaun Best/Reuters))

Over the past decade, the ranks of Canadian smokers have steadily declined. Public health initiatives have promoted awareness about the negative health effects of smoking, forced cigarette manufacturers to carry picture-based warnings on their packages and squeezed smokers out of cafes and bars.

Despite this social shift, recent figures from Statistics Canada suggest that while the overall number is decreasing, nearly one-fifth of Canadians call themselves smokers.

In this by-the-numbers feature, we take a look at the state of smoking in Canada.



$3.3 billion (1998) to $1.4 billion (2007) - Decline in manufacturing revenues (the value of goods produced by the sector's establishments), according to Industry Canada. This decrease translates into an average compound annual decline of eight per cent per year.

28,627,507,225 - units of cigarettes sold in Canada in 2009. (Health Canada)

$81.54 - average price for 200 cigarettes as of October 2010 (Statistics Canada)


4,000 - number of chemicals — including carbon monoxide, ammonia, cadmium and arsenic — in cigarette smoke.

12 minutes - amount of time a lit cigarette will produce smoke.

30 seconds - amount of time one person can inhale smoke from one cigarette.

Canadian teenagers smoke 1.6 billion cigarettes every year, according to Health Canada. This total translates into $330 million in retail sales.


100 million - number of deaths related to tobacco in the 20th century, according to the World Health Organization.

37,000 - number of Canadians who die every year of illnesses related to tobacco smoke. According to Health Canada, this sum is the total of all murders, alcohol-related deaths, car accidents and suicides.

Every 12 minutes - a Canadian dies of a tobacco-related illness. (Health Canada)

Children of parents who smoke are 200-400 per cent more likely to develop asthma. (Health Canada)

Smoking is linked to 30 per cent of all cancer deaths in Canada. (Canadian Cancer Society)

600,000 - Annual number of premature deaths linked to second-hand smoke, according to the World Health Organization.

A person who smokes 10 cigarettes a day is up to 180 per cent more likely to die from lung cancer or obstructive chronic lung disease as compared with a non-smoker. (Health Canada)

After 2 days - after quitting smoking, taste and smell begin to improve. (Canadian Cancer Society)

Within 2 weeks to 3 months - lung function improves.

After 1 year, risk of smoking-related heart attack is cut by 50 per cent.

Within 10 years of quitting smoking, risk of dying from lung cancer is slashed by half.


2001 - Year Canada became the first country to require cigarette manufacturers to add picture-based warnings to its packages.

39 - Number of countries or jurisdictions that currently require picture warnings on their cigarette packages.

50 per cent - Amount of space a picture warning must fill on both the front and back of the package in Canada.

0 - changes to Canada's picture photo warnings since they first launched.