The annual results of the Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Study (CTUMS), conducted from February through December 2009, reveal that 18% of the Canadian population aged 15 years and older were current smokers (about 4.9 million Canadian residents). Fourteen percent (14%) reported smoking daily, while 4% reported smoking occasionally. More males (19%) reported smoking compared to females (16%). Daily smokers smoked an average of 14.5 cigarettes per day. All of these measures are unchanged from 2008.
Current smoking among youth aged 15 to 19 years was 13% (approximately 286,000 teens), and is the lowest rate of current smoking recorded for this age group since Health Canada first reported smoking prevalence. This is not statistically different from the 15% reported in 2008. Seven percent* (7%) of youth reported smoking daily, and consumed an average of 11.4 cigarettes per day, while 5%* of youth reported smoking occasionally. A higher percentage of male (15%) than female (11%) youths were current smokers.
In 2009, smoking among youths aged 15 to 17 years was unchanged from 2008. The 2009 current smoking rate was 10% (130,000), representing 11% of males and 9% of females in this age group. Five percent (5%) of youths aged 15 to 17 smoked daily, consuming an average of 11.8 cigarettes per day.
Eighteen percent (18%) (156,000) of older youths aged 18 to 19 years were current smokers in 2009, a significant decline from 2008, when the rate was 23%. Eleven percent (11%) of older youths smoked daily (down from 14% in 2008) and 7% smoked occasionally. Daily smokers in this age group consumed an average of 11.1 cigarettes per day, a significant decline compared to 13.0 in 2008.
The prevalence of smoking among young adults aged 20 to 24 years was 23% (about 523,000 young adults) in 2009, a statistically significant decrease from the 27% reported in 2008. The overall decline in this age group was driven by a significant decrease in the male smoking rate, falling to 26% from 33% in 2008. The smoking rate for female young adults was 20%, not statistically significantly different from the rate of 22% reported in 2008.
The rate of daily smoking among young adults declined significantly to 15%, from 18% reported in 2008. Once again, this decrease was driven by statistically significant reductions among daily male smokers (16% in 2009 from 21% in 2008). The rate of daily smoking among females (13%) was not significantly different from 2008 (15%). Young adults who reported smoking daily consumed an average of 12.9 cigarettes per day.
Four million or 17% of Canadians aged 25 years and older were current smokers in 2009. Prevalence of daily smoking was 14% while the rate for occasional smoking was 3%. In this age group a higher percentage of males than females were current smokers (19% of males compared with 16% of females) and daily smokers (16% of males compared with 13% of females). Rates of occasional smoking were the same for males and females at 3%. Males who smoked daily consumed an average of 16.1 cigarettes per day, significantly higher than the 13.1 consumed by female daily smokers. Among Canadians aged 25 years and older, none of the smoking rates were significantly different from the rates in 2008.
Canadian daily smokers aged 15 years and older consumed an average of 14.5 cigarettes per day in 2009, unchanged from 2008 levels. Male daily smokers consumed an average of 15.8 cigarettes per day in 2009 (16.4 in 2008) and female daily smokers consumed an average of 12.9 (13.0 in 2008).
Provincial current smoking rates for Canadians aged 15 and older ranged from a low of 15% in British Columbia to a high of 22% in Saskatchewan. There were no significant changes within provinces in current smoking rates or in the average number of cigarettes smoked per day by daily smokers. Cigarette consumption ranged from a low of 12.9 in Manitoba to a high of 16.1 in New Brunswick.
In 2009, 43% of Canadians aged 15 years and older reported having ever smoked any type of cigar (regular cigar, little cigar, or cigarillo). Of those who had ever smoked any of these cigars, 10% reported smoking these products in the past 30 days. Overall, 5% of all Canadians aged 15 and older, 10% of youths aged 15 to 19, and 13% of young adults aged 20 to 24 reported smoking any type of cigar in the past 30 days. Eight percent (8%) of all cigar smokers were under the legal age to purchase tobacco in their province of residence.^
Just over one-third (37%) of Canadians aged 15 years and older reported having ever tried little cigars or cigarillos, and 4% reported smoking them in the past 30 days, levels that are unchanged from CTUMS 2008 results. Among Canadian youth aged 15 to 19, 31% (680,000) reported having ever tried little cigars/cigarillos and 8% (183,000) reported smoking a little cigar or cigarillo in the past 30 days. Almost half (49% or 1.1 million) of young adults aged 20 to 24 reported having ever tried little cigars/cigarillos, while 11% (257,000) reported smoking them in the past 30 days. Little cigar use among youth and young adults was unchanged from 2008.
Among cigar smokers aged 15 years and older who smoked just little cigars/cigarillos (3%), the majority (75% or 603,000 people) smoked only flavoured little cigars/cigarillos, while 11% smoked both the flavoured and unflavoured varieties. Of Canadian youth aged 15 to 19 who smoked little cigars/cigarillos and no regular cigars, 77% (105,000) smoked just flavoured little cigars/cigarillos. Less than 15% of this group smoked both flavoured and unflavoured little cigars/cigarillos, while the percentage of youth within this group who smoked just unflavoured cigars/cigarillos is too low to report.
Thirty-two percent (32%) of Canadians aged 15 and older reported having ever tried smoking a regular cigar, including 20% (440,000) of Canadians aged 15 to 19 and 36% (812,000) young adults aged 20 to 24. In the past 30 days, regular cigars were smoked by 2% (265,000) of Canadians aged 15 and older, 3% of youth aged 15 to 19, and 4% of young adults aged 20 to 24.
Among Canadians aged 15 and older whose cigar smoking was limited to regular cigars, 80% smoked only the unflavoured variety and more than 10% reported smoking flavoured regular cigars. Results for other age or flavour categories cannot be reported due to low numbers.
Unchanged from CTUMS 2008 results, 8% of Canadians 15 years and older reported having ever tried smokeless tobacco products in 2009. Six percent (6%) of youth or 139,000 teens aged 15 to 19 and 11% of young adults (250,000) aged 20 to 24 reported ever using smokeless tobacco. Use of smokeless tobacco within the past 30 days was 1% for Canadians aged 15 years and older, youth aged 15 to 19 and young adults aged 20 to 24.
There has been a shift in the distribution of past-30-day smokeless tobacco users from youth toward older adults. In 2003, 23% of users were aged 15 to 19 and 14% were in the 45+ age group, whereas in 2009, 16% of smokeless tobacco users were aged 15 to 19 and 33% were in the 45+ age group.
The use of flavoured versus plain smokeless tobacco could not be reported due to the low prevalence of smokeless tobacco use in the past 30 days.
According to CTUMS 2009, most current smokers usually bought their cigarettes from a small grocery or corner store (53% in 2009, a drop from 57% in 2008) and at gas stations (19% in 2009 up from 16% in 2008). Other retail stores and First Nations' reserves were each reported as the usual cigarette sources for 5% of smokers.
Sixty-nine percent (69%) of youth smokers aged 15 to 19 got their cigarettes from regular retail sources, while 10% got their cigarettes from "other" retail sources (compared to 5% in 2008). Fewer youths obtained their cigarettes from social sources (21% in 2009 compared with 28% in 2008).
Among youth who were too young to purchase cigarettes legally in their province of residence, in 2009, 64% got their cigarettes from a regular retail source (55% in 2008). There was a corresponding decrease in the percentage of underage youth who got their cigarettes free from social sources (36% in 2009 compared with 45% in 2008). Neither of these measures is significantly different from 2008.
CTUMS asks about efforts people have made in the past 6 months to purchase cigarettes at a cheaper cost. Thirty percent (30% or 1.5 million) of current smokers aged 15 and older purchased discount-brand cigarettes at retail, 16% (750,000) purchased cigarettes from a First Nations' reserve and 3% (130,000) reported they purchased cigarettes that may have been smuggled. Some smokers reported multiple sources, however, and these numbers should not be added. Daily smokers who purchased cheaper cigarettes of at least one of these types smoked an average of 15.6 cigarettes per day, which is significantly higher than those who reported smoking full-price cigarettes (12.9).
Among youth smokers aged 15 to 19, 25% (72,000) purchased discount-brand cigarettes in the past six months,19% (53,000) purchased cigarettes from a First Nations' reserve and 5% (15,000) purchased cigarettes that may have been smuggled. Cigarette consumption was similar between daily youth smokers who purchased cheaper cigarettes and those who purchased only full price cigarettes (11.8 and 11.2 cigarettes per day, respectively).
Thirty-two percent (32% or 170,000) of young adult smokers aged 20 to 24, bought discount-brand cigarettes and 17% (87,000) purchased cigarettes from First Nations' reserves. Too few young adults reported purchasing potentially smuggled cigarettes to report. Young adults who bought cheaper cigarettes smoked more cigarettes per day on average (14.7) than young adults who only bought full-price cigarettes (11.1).
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 to 24 year olds, who are most at risk for taking up smoking. CTUMS 2009 annual collected data from 20,121 respondents from February to December 2009. The overall margin of error for the smoking rate for Canada is +/- 1.0%. We expect the true smoking prevalence for this population to be between 16.5% and 18.6%, 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 contact Health Canada by email (email@example.com), toll free telephone number (1-866-318-1116), fax (613-954-2377) or visit www.gosmokefree.gc.ca.
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.
^ CTUMS does not use a standardised definition of little cigars, cigarillo or regular cigar and relies on respondents to determine in which category their cigars belong. In addition, CTUMS does not collect information regarding either purchase patterns or smoking volume or frequency of these products. Estimation of how many cigars are either purchased or consumed on a daily basis is not advised nor possible given data limitations.