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Statistics & Research

Cigarette Use
 

  Ever Smoked   Currently Smoking (daily)   Currently Smoking (Occasionally)    Age of first cigarette
2016-2017 18%   1.3%   2%   13.6
2018-2019 19%   0.9%   2%   13.7

In 2018-19, 19% of students in grades 7 to 12 (approximately 402,000) had ever tried smoking a cigarette, even just a puff. In grades 7 to 9, 9% of students had ever tried smoking a cigarette and in grades 10 to 12, 29% of students reported the same. These results were unchanged from 2016-17.

In 2018-19, 3% of students in grades 7 to 12 (approximately 59,000 students) were currently smoking cigarettes, with 1% smoking daily and 2% smoking occasionally. The prevalence of current smoking (3%) was unchanged from 2016-17.

The prevalence of current daily smoking decreased among students in grades 7 to 12 to 0.9% (approximately 19,000 students) from 1.3% in 2016-17. There was a decrease in current daily smoking among students in grades 10 to 12 to 1% from 2% in 2016-17; current daily smoking (0.4%) was unchanged from 2016-17 for grades 7 to 9. 

The average age at which students in grades 7 to 12 first tried smoking, even just a puff, was 13.7 years, unchanged from 2016-17.

Smoking by Province

In 2018-19, the prevalence of having ever tried smoking a cigarette ranged from a low of 15% in Ontario to a high of 35% in Saskatchewan among students in grades 7 to 12. The prevalence of current smoking ranged from a low of 3% in Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia to a high of 8% in Saskatchewan.

Source of Cigarettes

The majority (84%) of students who smoked in the past 30 days obtained their cigarettes from social sources rather than retail sources, an increase from 78% in 2016-17. Social sources include friends, family, and others, regardless of whether the cigarettes were given freely, paid for, or stolen. Accessing cigarettes through social sources was higher among students in grades 7 to 9 (94%) than those in grades 10 to 12 (82%).

Over half of students in grades 7 to 12 (58%) thought it would be “fairly easy” or “very easy” to get a cigarette if they wanted one. About a quarter (27%) of grade 7 to 12 students thought it would be “difficult” or “very difficult” to get a cigarette, and 15% were not sure.

References:

Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey 2018-19