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Archived - Government of Canada Reveals New Research on Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Use

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Results show smoking remains at all-time low

February 3, 2015 - Ottawa, ON - Health Canada

The Government of Canada published today the results of the 2013 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drugs Survey (CTADS), which demonstrate progress made in sustaining all-time lows in smoking rates, while also highlighting the need for continued attention to issues such as marijuana use among youth and prescription drug abuse.

The CTADS is a national general population survey of tobacco, alcohol and drug use among Canadians aged 15 years and older, with a focus on 15-24 year olds. More than 14,500 Canadians were interviewed for the survey, conducted by Statistics Canada on behalf of Health Canada.

The survey includes the first national data on e-cigarette use, which will add to the growing body of knowledge Health Canada is gathering to determine next steps in regulating this product. Last fall, Minister Ambrose asked the Standing Committee on Health to study the potential risks and benefits of e-cigarettes and to seek the advice of a variety of health stakeholders. The Standing Committee report is expected to be released in early 2015.

Understanding trends in tobacco, alcohol and drug use is vital to the effective development and implementation of strategies, policies and programs. The CTADS data will contribute to sources of evidence as the Government of Canada continues to create policies and programs that respond to the needs of Canadians and protect health and safety.

This is the first release of the CTADS, which merged two previous survey tools – the Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) and the Canadian Drug and Alcohol Use Monitoring Survey (CADUMS), streamlining federal efforts and representing the first time that tobacco, drug and alcohol data has been reported together.

Quick Facts

  • CTADS 2013 reported that the overall smoking prevalence in 2013 was 15%, the lowest national smoking rate ever recorded. Over the 14 years that the federal government has been surveying Canadians on this issue, smoking rates have decreased from a high of 25% in 1999 to 15% in 2013.
  • Based on the CTADS 2013 results, 3% of respondents reported smoking little cigars in the past 30 days, the majority of whom said they most commonly smoked flavoured little cigars.
  • Past-year cannabis use among Canadians aged 15 years and older was 11%. Among teens, the rate increased to 22%, and among young adults, the prevalence rate was highest at 26%.
  • Cannabis use among Canadians aged 15-19 is down nearly 10% since 2008.
  • Overall, 9% of Canadians reported having ever tried an e-cigarette. Among youth and young adults, this number jumps to 20%.
  • In 2013, 22% of Canadians aged 15 years and older indicated they had used a psychoactive pharmaceutical in the past year, and among these users, 2% reported they abused such a drug. Rates of reported abuse were higher for youth and young adults compared to adults 25 years and older.

Quotes

“Our Government is pleased to see that smoking rates are the lowest in history. Since 2008, we have also seen a significant decrease in youth who reported smoking marijuana.  We must continue to work with our partners to address these challenges using the most up to date information to ensure smoking and drug use remains low and continues to fall.”

Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

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