Youth smoking rates continue to decline

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Health Canada, February 12, 2004

Youth smoking rates continue to decline

OTTAWA - The Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) results released today confirm that smoking rates are continuing to decline in Canada. The data was collected between February and June 2003.

Statistics Canada conducts CTUMS on behalf of Health Canada. Results from CTUMS reveal that 5.1 million Canadians, representing approximately 20% of the population aged 15 years and over, were current smokers.

The prevalence of smoking also continues to decline among youth (15-19 years) with 18% reporting to be current smokers for this first half of 2003. It is the first time since 1994/95 that youth report a lower smoking rate than the total population.

Not only are fewer Canadians smoking, but they are also smoking fewer cigarettes on a daily basis. In 1985, daily smokers consumed an average of 20.6 cigarettes per day. Since then, the number of cigarettes smoked has been gradually declining to the current level of 15.7 cigarettes per day during this period. Women continued to smoke fewer cigarettes than men: 13.2 cigarettes per day for females as compared to 17.8 for males.

Over the course of a year, CTUMS collects information over the telephone from over 20,000 respondents. Since its creation in 1999, CTUMS has provided up-to-date, reliable and consistent data on tobacco use in Canada. The survey is especially helpful in providing smoking data on groups at risk, such as youth aged 15-19 years and young adults aged 20-24 years, who continue to smoke more than the rest of the population.

Smoking is the most preventable cause of death and diseases in Canada. The latest estimates published this year indicate that more than 47,500 people died in 1998 due to tobacco use and at least 1,100 of them were non-smokers.

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