The annual results of the Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS), conducted from February through December 2010, reveal that 17% of the Canadian population aged 15 years and older were current smokers (about 4.7 million Canadian residents). This is a statistically significant decrease of current smoking compared to the rate of 2007 (19% or about 5.2 million smokers) when the objectives of the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy (FTCS) were renewed. Thirteen percent (13%) reported smoking daily, while 4% reported smoking occasionally. More males (20%) reported smoking than females (14%). Daily smokers smoked an average of 15.1 cigarettes per day.
Smoking prevalence in Canada has continually declined since it was first measured. However, as smoking prevalence reaches lower levels, it becomes more and more difficult to show year to year statistically significant differences. In the context of the future of tobacco control in Canada, the focus of this year's CTUMS release is a comparison of the 2010 rates to those of 2007 when the objectives of the FTCS were last renewed.
Current smoking among youth aged 15 to 19 years was 12% (approximately 268,000 teens). While it is not statistically significant from the 13% reported in 2009, it is the lowest rate of current smoking recorded for this age group since Health Canada first reported smoking prevalence and it is significantly different than the rate reported in 2007 (15%). Seven percent (7%) of youth reported smoking daily, and consumed an average of 11.6 cigarettes per day, while 5% of youth reported smoking occasionally. There was no difference in the percentage of male (13%) and female (11%) youths who were current smokers.
In 2010, the smoking rate among youths aged 15 to 17 years was the lowest ever recorded, for the first time reaching the FTCS goal of 9%. The 2010 current smoking rate was 9% for both males and females representing about 121,000 youth. Five percent (5%) of youths aged 15 to 17 smoked daily, consuming an average of 11.0 cigarettes per day.
Eighteen percent (18%) of older youths aged 18 to 19 years (representing about 147,000 youth) were current smokers in 2010 unchanged from 2009 (18%) but significantly lower than in 2007 (23%), with 11% smoking daily and 6% smoking occasionallyFootnote *. Daily smokers in this age group consumed an average of 12.0 cigarettes per day. All these rates are unchanged from those in 2009.
The prevalence of smoking among young adults aged 20 to 24 years was 22% (about 508,000 young adults) in 2010, unchanged from the 23% reported in 2009 but significantly lower compared to 2007 (25%). In 2010, the smoking rate for young adult males was 24%, not statistically significantly different from the rate for females of 20%.
Also, a notable decline in current smoking is observed among young adult males 20-24 years since the objectives of the FTCS were renewed in 2007 (28% in 2007, 33% in 2008, 26% in 2009, and 24% in 2010).
The rate of daily smoking among young adults is unchanged from that in 2009 at 15%, but is significantly lower than the rate in 2007 (17%). The difference in the rate of daily smoking among males (16%) and females (13%) was not statistically significant. Young adults who reported smoking daily consumed an average of 12.7 cigarettes per day.
Seventeen percent (17%) or about 3.9 million of Canadians aged 25 years and older were current smokers in 2010, unchanged from 2009, but statistically lower compared to the rate in 2007 (19%). The rate of daily smoking was 13%, statistically significantly lower than in 2007 (16%) and the rate for occasional smoking was 3%Footnote ^. In this age group, a higher percentage of males than females were current smokers (20% of males compared with 13% of females), daily smokers (16% of males compared with 11% of females) and occasional smokers (4% of males compared with 2% of females). Males who smoked daily consumed an average of 16.8 cigarettes per day, a significantly higher number than for females (13.6).
Canadian daily smokers aged 15 years and older consumed an average of 15.1 cigarettes per day in 2010, unchanged since 2007 (15.5). In 2010, male daily smokers consumed more cigarettes per day (an average of 16.4) than female daily smokers (an average of 13.2).
Provincial current smoking rates for Canadians aged 15 and older ranged from a low of 14% in British Columbia to a high of 21% in Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Manitoba. There were no significant changes within provinces in current smoking rates. Cigarette consumption ranged from a low of 13.3 cigarettes per day in Manitoba to a high of 17.4 in New Brunswick.
In 2010, 42% of Canadians aged 15 years and older reported having ever smoked any type of cigar (regular cigar, little cigar, or cigarillo). Overall, 4% of all Canadians aged 15 and older, 8% of youths aged 15 to 19, and 10% of young adults aged 20 to 24 reported smoking any type of cigar in the past 30 days. Ten percent (10%) of all cigar smokers were under the legal age to purchase tobacco in their province of residenceFootnote §.
Just over one-third (37%) of Canadians aged 15 years and older reported having ever tried little cigars or cigarillos, and 3% reported smoking them in the past 30 days, levels that are unchanged from CTUMS 2009 (4%) and 2007 (4%) results. Among Canadian youth aged 15 to 19, 29% (about 626,000 youth) reported having ever tried little cigars/cigarillos and 6% (about 141,000 youth) reported smoking a little cigar or cigarillo in the past 30 days, a statistically significant decrease from 2009 (8%) and 2007 (11%) when the FTCS objectives were renewed. Almost half (48% or about 1.0 million) of young adults aged 20 to 24 reported having ever tried little cigars/cigarillos, while 9% (about 197,000) reported smoking them in the past 30 days, a significant decrease from the 11% reported in 2009, but not from 2007 (10%).
The majority (59% or about 506,000 people) of those aged 15 years and older who smoked little cigars/cigarillos in the past 30 days smoked flavoured little cigars/cigarillos, while 14% (about 124,000 people) smoked both the flavoured and unflavoured varieties. Of youth aged 15 to 19 who smoked little cigars/cigarillos, 70% (about 97,000 youth) smoked flavoured little cigars/cigarillos, while 19% (about 27,000) of youth smoked both flavoured and unflavoured little cigars/cigarillos. These results are not statistically significant compared to those from 2009, the first year these questions were asked. CTUMS 2011 is monitoring the use of flavoured little cigars and cigarillos and will continue to do so in the future. Reducing the appeal of little cigars to youth is an important goal of the Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act, which came into force in 2010. While it is too early to fully evaluate the impact of this Act on youth smoking of little cigars based on the CTUMS 2010 result, it is worth noting that the number of youth aged 15 to 19 who reported smoking little cigars in the past 30 days is 6%, a statistically significant decrease from the rate of 8% reported in 2009.
Unchanged from CTUMS 2009 results, 8% of Canadians 15 years and older reported having ever tried smokeless tobacco products in 2010. Five percent (5%) of youth or about 119,000 teens aged 15 to 19 and 10% of young adults (about 228,000) aged 20 to 24 reported ever using smokeless tobacco. The prevalence of smokeless tobacco use within the past 30 days was under 1% for Canadians aged 15 years and older, 1% for youth aged 15 to 19 and 2% for young adults aged 20 to 24.
According to CTUMS 2010, most current smokers usually bought their cigarettes from a small grocery or corner store (56% in 2010, unchanged from 53% in 2009) and at gas stations (16% in 2010, down from 19% in 2009). First Nations' reserves were reported as the usual cigarette sources for 4% of smokers.
Fifty-four percent (54%) of youth smokers aged 15 to 19 obtained their cigarettes from a small grocery store, while 16% got them from a gas station. Twenty-three percent (23%) of youths obtained their cigarettes from social sources, unchanged from 2009 (21%).
Among youth who were too young to purchase cigarettes legally in their province of residence, 60% got their cigarettes from a regular retail source in 2010, a rate unchanged from the 64% reported in 2009. There was no statistically significant difference in the percentage of underage youth who obtained their cigarettes at no cost from social sources (40% in 2010 compared with 36% in 2009).
CTUMS includes questions about efforts people have made in the past 6 months to purchase cigarettes at a cheaper cost. Thirty-two percent (32% or about 1.5 million) of current smokers aged 15 and older purchased discount-brand cigarettes at retail, 14% (about 662,000 Canadians) purchased cigarettes from a First Nations' reserve and 1% (about 58,000) reported they purchased cigarettes that may have been smuggled. Some smokers reported more than one source, however, these numbers should not be added. Daily smokers who purchased cheaper cigarettes of at least one of these types smoked an average of 17.1 cigarettes per day, a number significantly higher than for those who reported smoking full-price cigarettes (13.6).
The percentage of smokers who reported purchasing cigarettes on a First Nation's reserve has declined in the past 3 years from 20% in 2007 and 2008 to 16% in 2009 and to 14% in 2010. There was also a decrease in the percentage of smokers who reported purchasing cigarettes that may have been smuggled (1%) compared to 2007-2009 when the rate was stable at between 3 and 4 percent.
Among youth smokers aged 15 to 19, 24% (about 65,000 youth) purchased discount-brand cigarettes in the past six months and 14% (about 37,000) purchased cigarettes from a First Nations' reserve. Cigarette consumption was similar between daily youth smokers who purchased cheaper cigarettes and those who purchased only full price cigarettes (12.0 and 11.3 cigarettes per day, respectively).
Thirty percent (30% or about 153,000) of young adult smokers aged 20 to 24, bought discount-brand cigarettes and 16% (about 78,000) purchased cigarettes from First Nations' reserves. Young adults who bought cheaper cigarettes smoked more cigarettes per day on average (13.7) than young adults who only bought full-price cigarettes (11.9).
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, the group most at risk for taking up smoking. CTUMS 2010 annual collected data from 19,822 respondents from February to December 2010. 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 15.8% and 17.7%, 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 e-mail (email@example.com), toll-free telephone number (1-866-318-1116), facsimile (613 954-2377) or visit www.gosmokefree.gc.ca.
For information on the public-use microdata file, please contact Statistics Canada's Client Services, Special Surveys Division (1 800-461-9050; 613-951-3321; facsimile: 613-951-4527; firstname.lastname@example.org).
Percentages of daily and occasional adult smokers aged 18 to 19 years do not sum to the percentage of current smokers due to rounding.
Percentages of daily and occasional adult smokers aged 25 years and older do not sum to the percentage of current smokers due to rounding.
CTUMS does not use a standardised definition of little cigars, cigarillos or regular cigars 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.