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Association of flavoured cigar regulations with wholesale tobacco volumes in Canada: an interrupted time series analysis
  1. Michael O Chaiton1,2,
  2. Robert Schwartz1,2,
  3. Gabrielle Tremblay3,
  4. Robert Nugent3
  1. 1 Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2 Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3 Tobacco Control Directorate, Health Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Michael O Chaiton, Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5T 3M7, Canada; michael.chaiton{at}


Introduction This study examines the association of Federal Canadian regulations passed in 2009 addressing flavours (excluding menthol) in small cigars with changes in cigar sales.

Methods Quarterly wholesale unit data as reported to Health Canada from 2001 through 2016 were analysed using interrupted time series analysis. Changes in sales of cigars with and without flavour descriptors were estimated. Analyses were seasonally adjusted. Changes in the flavour types were assessed over time.

Results The Federal flavour regulations were associated with a reduction in the sales of flavoured cigars by 59 million units (95% CI −86.0 to −32.4). Increases in sales of cigars with descriptors other than flavours (eg, colour or other ambiguous terms) were observed (9.6 million increase (95% CI −1.3 to 20.5), but the overall level (decline of 49.6 million units (95% CI −73.5 to −25.8) and trend of sales of cigars (6.9 million units per quarter (95% CI −8.1 to −5.7)) declined following the ban. Sensitivity analysis showed that there was no substantial difference in effect over time comparing Ontario and British Columbia, suggesting that other provincial tobacco control legislation was not associated with the changes in levels. Analyses suggested that the level change was sensitive to the specification of the date.

Conclusion This study demonstrates that flavour regulations have the potential to substantially impact tobacco sales. However, exemptions for certain flavours and product types may have reduced the effectiveness of the ban, indicating the need for comprehensive, well-designed regulations.

  • non-cigarette tobacco products
  • public policy
  • economics

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Contributors All authors contributed to the design of the study. RN and GT were responsible for data collection and cleaning. MOC conducted the analysis. All authors contributed to writing and editing for substantive intellectual content.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests Some of the authors work for Health Canada, which is responsible for implementing the policy evaluated in this paper.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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