Tobacco Use in Canada: Patterns and Trends 2017 Edition
Jessica Reid, David Hammond, Vicki Rynard, Cheryl Madill, Robin Burkhalter
Published in University of Waterloo
This report uses data from national surveys conducted by Health Canada and Statistics Canada to summarise the main patterns and trends in tobacco use in Canada, primarily between 1999 and 2015, with a focus on the most recent data available. Highlights of the report are presented below.
SECTION I: TOBACCO USE AMONG CANADIAN ADULTS (15+), 2015
- 13.0% of Canadians (approximately 3.9 million) were current smokers: the lowest prevalence estimate since monitoring began.
- The majority of smokers reported smoking daily (9.4% daily/3.7% non-daily prevalence).
- Prevalence was higher among males (15.6%) than females (10.4%).
- Smoking prevalence was highest among young adults aged 20-24(18.5%) and generally declined with age. Prevalence was lowest among youth aged 15-19 (9.7%) and adults age 55+(10.6%).
- There were significant differences between provinces in smoking prevalence.
- Self-rated health varied by smoking status, with non-smokers rating their general health and mental health better than smokers.
- Daily smokers in Canada smoked an average of 13.8 cigarettes per day.
- Average consumption has declined by more than 3 cigarettes per day since 1999.
- Male daily smokers consumed over 3 cigarettes more per day than females (15.2 and 11.9, respectively).
USE OF OTHER TOBACCO PRODUCTS
- Cigarillos and cigars were the most popular tobacco products other than cigarettes: 2.5% of Canadians reported use in the past 30 days.
- Use of other tobacco products (cigars, cigarillos, pipe, chewing tobacco/snuff, waterpipe) was more prevalent among males, and among young adults.
- Use of cigars/cigarillos varied significantly by province.
EXPOSURE TO SECONDHAND SMOKE (SHS)
- More than half of respondents (57.7%) reported being exposed to SHS in the past month, including 13.4% who reported being exposed either every day or almost every day.
- SHS exposure was more prevalent among males, young people, and current smokers.
SECTION II: QUITTING SMOKING, 2015
- Two-thirds (67.7%) of Canadians who have ever been smokers have now quit.
PLANS TO QUIT
- Two-thirds of smokers (65.8%) were seriously considering quitting in the next 6 months; 3 in 10 (31.1%) were considering quitting in the next month.
- Similar proportions of males and females were seriously considering quitting smoking in the next 6 months and in the next month.
- The majority of smokers in all age groups were considering quitting in the next 6 months.
QUIT ATTEMPTS AND SUCCESS (ABSTINENCE)
- More than half of smokers had tried to quit in the past year; one-third tried more than once.
- Similar percentages of males and females had made a quit attempt in the past year.
- Quit attempts varied by age group. The percentage of smokers who had tried to quit was highest among young smokers and declined with age.
- Among respondents who had made a quit attempt in the past year, 13.3 % were still abstinent from smoking at the time they were surveyed.
- 6.9% of current and former smokers who tried to quit in the past year used a telephone quitline for assistance.
REASONS FOR QUITTING
- Two-thirds of former smokers who quit in the past year cited health as their main reason.
SECTION III: TOBACCO USE AMONG CANADIAN YOUTH
Youth in grades 6- 9, in 2014-15:
- 8.1% of students in grades 6-9 had ever tried a cigarette.
- Less than 2% of students in grades 6-9 were current smokers overall, although the exact estimate cannot be reported.
- Smoking prevalence was similar among male and female students in grades 6-9.
- Three out of ten never-smokers in grades 6- 9 were classified as susceptible to smoking.
- Daily smokers in grades 7-9 smoked an average of 8.8 cigarettes per day.
- 4.9% of students in grades 6-9 had ever smoked a cigar or cigarillo.
- Most smokers in grades 6-9 usually obtained their cigarettes from social sources.
- Nearly seven out of ten current smokers in grades 6-9 reported ever trying to quit smoking.
Youth aged 15-19, in 2015:
- Less than one in five (18.2%) youth reported ever having smoked a whole cigarette.
- One in ten youth (9.7%) were current smokers overall, with age-specific rates ranging from 5.0% among 15- and 16-year-olds to 17.7% of 19-year-olds.
- Daily smoking (4.3%) accounted for less than half of youth prevalence (5.4% non-daily).
- Prevalence did not differ significantly between males (11.0%) and females (8.3%).
- Daily smokers aged 15-19 smoked an average of 11.6 cigarettes per day.
- 21.9% of youth aged 15-19 had ever smoked a cigarillo, and 12.8% had ever smoked a cigar; 12.3% had ever used a waterpipe.
- Sex differences were apparent: 18.4 % of males and 6.9% of females had smoked a cigar, while 27.1% of males and 16.4% of females had smoked a cigarillo.
- Nearly half (46.6%) of smokers aged 15-18 usually bought cigarettes from stores, while 37.7% were given cigarettes by social sources, and 15.8% obtained them from “Other” sources.
- The majority of smokers aged 15-19 were seriously considering quitting in the next 6 months.
- Two-thirds (65.0 %) of smokers aged 15-19 had made a quit attempt in the past 12 months.
SECTION IV: E-CIGARETTE USE AMONG CANADIANS (15+), 2015
- A substantial number of Canadians had tried e-cigarettes, but few reported regular use: 13.2% of Canadians (3.9 million) reported having ever tried an e-cigarette; 3.2% had used one in the past 30 days, and 1.0% reported daily use.
- Use of e-cigarettes increased significantly between 2013 and 2015.
- E-cigarette use was most prevalent among young people: one in four youth (aged 15-19) and three in ten young adults (aged 20-24) reported ever trying an e-cigarette.
- Prevalence of e-cigarette use was much greater among smokers: 51.0% of current smokers had ever used e-cigarettes, compared to 7.6% of non-smokers; past 30-day use was 15.5% among current smokers and 1.4% among non-smokers.
- Nearly half (47.8%) of users reported that the last e-cigarette they used contained nicotine.
- Among all ever users, nearly one-quarter (22.8%) reported using e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking within the past two years.
- One in ten Canadian students in grades 6-9 reported having ever tried an e-cigarette in 2014-15; 3.2% had used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days.