The results from the Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS), for data collected between February and June, 2008, show that 18%1 of the Canadian population aged 15 years and older were current smokers (about 4.9 million smokers), unchanged from the same period one year ago. Slightly more males (20%) reported smoking compared to females (16%). The difference between the male and female smoking rate has increased from 2% in the first half of 2007 to 4% in the same period of 20082. Thirteen percent of Canadians reported smoking daily while 5% reported smoking occasionally. Daily smokers consumed an average of 15.0 cigarettes per day.
Based on 2008, wave 1 results, the current smoking rate among youth aged 15-19 years was 15% (about 339,000 teens). Unchanged from the same period last year, 15% is the lowest rate on record since Health Canada first reported youth smoking prevalence. Eight percent (8%) of youth reported smoking daily and youth daily smokers reported consuming an average of 11.3 cigarettes per day. Seven percent (7%) of youth reported smoking occasionally.
A higher percentage of male teenagers (18%) were current smokers compared to female teenagers (13%). Male youth reported consuming an average of 2.1 less cigarettes per day (11.9 CPD)2 compared to the same period a year ago and consumed approximately the same number of CPD as female youth (10.6). Among youth daily smokers, consumption of cigarettes per day has dropped 25% from 15.1 cigarettes per day in 1985 to 11.3 in the first half of 2008.
The prevalence rate of smoking among respondents aged 15-17 was 10% (about 141,000 youth) in the first half of 2008, unchanged from the same period one year earlier. The Federal Tobacco Control Strategy (FTCS) objective to reduce the prevalence of Canadian youth (aged 15-17) who smoke to 9% by 2011, appears to be on target. In order to further reduce the smoking rate among youth aged 15-17, tobacco control efforts will need to continue to focus on youth since this is the period where the majority of experimentation and smoking uptake takes place.
The prevalence of smoking among young adults aged 20-24 years was 28% (about 623,000 young adults) during the first half of 2008, compared to 24% as reported last year at this time. This is not a statistically significant difference. Males (32%) continue to have a higher prevalence of smoking compared to females (23%).
Nineteen percent (19%) of young adults reported smoking daily while 9% reported smoking occasionally. Respondents who reported smoking daily consumed an average of 13.8 cigarettes per day with males (16.4) consuming more cigarettes daily compared to females (9.6). Overall, there was no difference in the number of cigarettes smoked per day by young adult daily smokers during the first half of 2008 compared to the same period one year ago (12.6).
Canadian daily smokers aged 15 years and older consumed an average of 15.0 cigarettes per day in 2008, unchanged from the estimate reported during the same period last year (15.3). Average daily consumption among males was 16.5 cigarettes per day while female daily smokers averaged 13.1 in 2008, no different than CTUMS estimates reported 12 months earlier (17.6 and 12.7 CPD respectively). Over the past two decades, average cigarette consumption among daily smokers aged 15 years and older has dropped 27% from 20.6 cigarettes per day in 1985 to 15.0 in the first half of 2008.
Along with smoking pre-packaged cigarettes, some Canadian smokers choose roll or make their own cigarettes. Among CTUMS current smokers, 12% reported that they currently rolled or made their own cigarettes, including 4% who do it all the time.
The CTUMS results for 2008 (February to June) showed that the rate of smoking ranged from a low of 15% in British Columbia to a high of 21% in Saskatchewan. All provinces remained within ▒3% of the National average smoking rate (18%). Ontario reported the highest percentage of never smokers (57%) while New Brunswick reported the lowest (47%).
There was some variation in reported average number of cigarettes smoked per day (CPD) among daily smokers across the provinces. The province that reported the highest CPD was Ontario (16.0) while the lowest was Newfoundland (13.0).
In the first half of 2008, thirteen percent (13%) of Canadian households reported at least one person who smoked inside the home every day or almost every day, compared to 14% during the same period in 20072. Among the remaining homes where someone did not smoke every day or almost every day, 11% of homes still allowed smoking inside. Forty-four percent (44%) of households, which did allow smoking in the home, or had someone regularly smoking inside the home, placed some restriction on it. Similarly to CTUMS 2007, Wave 1 results, it was also reported that 6% of children under the age of 12 (about 262,000 children) were regularly exposed to second-hand smoke at home.
Current Smokers were asked where they usually obtained their cigarettes. Among those aged 15 years and older, the most reported places to where cigarettes were purchased were at a small grocery/corner store (58%), at a gasoline station (16%) or at a supermarket (9%).
Current smokers were also asked if they have made any attempts to purchase cigarettes at a lower cost during the past 6 months. The 2008, Wave 1 results revealed that 38% of current smokers purchased a discount brand cigarette during the past 6 months, 20% bought cigarettes from a First Nation's Reserve, 14% bought cigarettes from outside the province, and 4% identified purchasing cigarettes that may have been smuggled. Some smokers reported multiple sources.
Among Canadian youth over the age of 15 years who identified themselves as current smokers but were not yet the legal age to purchase tobacco products in their respective provinces, 57% reported they obtained their cigarettes primarily from a social source (such as a friend or relative - either by taking, buying, or being given them) while the remaining 43% said they purchased them on their own from a retail source, including 34% who identified that they purchased them from a small grocery/corner store.
CTUMS asked respondents about their exposure to second-hand smoke in places other than their own home. Reported exposure to second-hand smoke in the past month was as follows: 52% at an entrance to a building, 52% on a sidewalk/in a park, 26% inside someone else's home, 25% on an outdoor patio of a restaurant or bar, 23% inside a car or other vehicle, and 22% at the workplace. Overall, 34% of respondents reported being exposed to second-hand smoke at least once a week, while 11% reported it occurring every day, and 11% reported exposure almost everyday.
CTUMS 2008 continues to monitor the use of little cigars based upon the growth of sales of this tobacco product. One-third (37%) of Canadians 15 years and older reported having ever tried little cigars, and 4% reported smoking little cigars in the past 30 days. Among Canadian youth ages 15-19, 33% reported having ever tried little cigars and 10% reported smoking a little cigar in the past 30 days. Fifty percent of young adults ages 20-24 reported having ever tried little cigars and 13% reported smoking a little cigar in the past 30 days.
Among Canadian youth ages 15-17, 7% reported smoking a little cigar in the past 30 days, compared to 14% ages 18-19, 14% of respondents age 20-22, and 11% of individuals ages 23-24.
For those under the legal age (15-18), just over 245,000 reported smoking cigarettes, little cigars, cigars or any combination of these three products during the previous thirty (30) days. Exclusive cigarette smoking was reported by 43% (100,000) of these youth. Use of other smoked tobacco products (alone or in combination) was broken down as follows: 15% (37,000) smoked cigarettes and little cigars; 11% (27,000) smoked only little cigars and 17% (42,000) smoked all three products. The other combinations were unreportable.
There are slightly more than 5.2 million adults who legally smoke these products, of which 75% (3.9 million) smoked only cigarettes, 4% (200,000) only little cigars and 8% (440,000) smoked both little cigars and cigarettes.
CTUMS was developed to provide Health Canada and its partners with timely, reliable, and continual data on tobacco use and related issues. The survey's primary objective is to track changes in smoking status and amount smoked, especially for 15-24-year-olds, who are most at risk for taking up smoking. The CTUMS 2008 Wave 1 collected data from over 9,700 respondents from February to June 2008. The overall margin of error for the smoking rate for Canada is +/- 1.6%. We expect the true smoking prevalence for this population to be between 16.3% and 19.6%, 19 times out of 20.
Note that when comparing results across different data releases of CTUMS, Health Canada advises that it is more accurate and reliable to compare results from one wave with those of other waves and to compare annual results with other annual results.
For more information about the survey and/or its results, please write the Tobacco Control Directorate, Office of Research, Surveillance and Evaluation, Health Canada, 123 Slater Street, Address Locator 3507C, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0K9, or send an email request to email@example.com, or visit Health Canada's Tobacco Control Directorate website www.gosmokefree.ca/ctums.
For information on the public-use microdata file, contact Statistics Canada's Client Services (1-800-461-9050; 613-951-3321; fax: 613-951-4527; firstname.lastname@example.org), Special Surveys Division.