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Posts Tagged ‘Health Risks’

Smoking Statistics in Canada

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Smoking statistics for Canada are generated by the Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) which collects data on tobacco use and related issues in Canada. The data collected provides useful information on both the incidence (number of new smokers) and the prevalence (total number of smokers) of smoking in the Canadian population.

Overall the long term trends show that the prevalence of smoking in Canada is decreasing from a high of 35% of the population in 1985 to less than 18% of the population in 2008.

The province of British Columbia has the lowest rate of prevalence for smoking across the country (14.7%) with all prairie provinces having the highest prevalence at 20.8%. Remaining provinces were slightly above the national average, hovering around 19-20%.

Here is how the Canadian smoking statistics break down by age groups. This data is from the 2008 CTUMS database. Complete data sets for 2009 are not yet available.

* 15-19 yrs old. – 15% of this population classify themselves as smokers. While unchanged from the previous year, this figure is the lowest since Canada began collecting and monitoring smoking statistics. Some provinces such as Newfoundland and Labrador have shown a decrease of 3% in this age group from the previous year.
* 20-24 yrs old. – 27% of this population are smoking. Among this age group males continue to smoke at a higher rate and smoke more cigarettes per capita than the female smokers in this age group.
* 25 – 45 yr old age group has the highest number of people who are giving up smoking. Between 25 and 45 yrs of age the number of people who classify themselves as former smokers increased by just over 16%.

Canada has been engaged in smoking reduction efforts for over ten years. There has been a consistent effort to get the message out about the health risks of smoking. Laws have been passed in many provinces to prevent smoking in public buildings and municipalities have implemented smoking bans that prevent smoking in any building, even bars and restaurants. Recently the smoking bans in Vancouver, BC and surrounding areas have been extended to included a restriction on smoking cigarettes within 7 meters of a building entrance.

Some communities are considering smoking laws to create smoke free outdoor patios, parks, and beaches. These types of measure reflect a change in the attitude of the public that welcomes regulation to protect the health of all citizens.

Since the smoking statistics show a clear drop in the prevalence of smoking in Canada it is clear there are a significant number of people who are giving up smoking cigarettes. But more importantly, less and less Canadians are being influenced to take up the habit in the first place.

So of those people who are still in the smoking minority who are they? An examination of the social epidemiology reveals some interesting statistics.

The highest prevalence of smokers is among the unemployed, poorly educated, and low income populations. The very people who have the least amount of disposable income purchase the majority of cigarettes. For this population at least, it would appear that the economic impact of cigarette smoking is not important enough to motivate a change in smoking behaviour.