The COMPASS Study collects data on a number of youth health behaviours. Using these data, we have created a number of knowledge products. Sharing our findings and producing usable knowledge tools is an important step in working collaboratively to improve youth health. Our knowledge products and resources are provided below:
Link to COMPASS vaping brochure
Changes in the e-cigarette environment
- There have been rapid shifts in the language used to describe e-cigarette use (or vaping) behaviour and in the type of devices used by youth. COMPASS continuously monitors these shifts and revises questionnaire wording to reflect current terminology.
- Shifts in regulation of e-cigarette devices in Canada can impact use among youth. Devices containing nicotine have been legalized, increasing availability and advertising. COMPASS data can evaluate how changes in these regulations impact e-cigarette use behaviours and reasons for use among participating students.
Trends in e-cigarette use among students in the COMPASS Study
Did you know?
- Among Ontario students participating in COMPASS in 2018/19, 28% of males and 23% of females aged 15-19 have used e-cigarettes at least once in the last 30 days.
- Current e-cigarettes use has increased from 8% in 2013/14 to 26% in 2018/19 among COMPASS participants in Ontario.
Relating youth smoking to e-cigarette use
- COMPASS results suggest that e-cigarettes are expanding the tobacco market by attracting low-risk youth who would otherwise be unlikely to initiate use of cigarettes. (Aleyan et al, 2019)
- Recent COMPASS findings demonstrate a reciprocal relationship between cigarette and e-cigarette use and e-cigarette use was found to predict subsequent cigarette use. (Aleyan et al, 2018)
- E-cigarette use may contribute to the development of a new population of cigarette smokers. (Aleyan et al, 2018)
Other health behaviours associated with e-cigarette use
COMPASS findings suggest that e-cigarette use is connected with the use of other substances such as cannabis, tobacco and alcohol (alcohol being the strongest link). (Zuckermann et al, 2019)
Moreover, e-cigarette use has been found to be an important contributing factor in the use of multiple substances (poly-substance use).(Zuckermann et al, 2019)
Reasons for use among e-cigarette users in 2018/19
Built environment and e-cigarettes
- E-cigarette retailer proximity and density surroundinga school were not significantly associated with thelikelihood of ever or currently using e-cigarettes. (Cole et al, 2019)
- These findings suggest that students are accessing e-cigarettes through other sources. (Cole et al, 2019)
- School-level policies banning the use of e-cigarettes on school property may be effective in reducing e-cigarette use (or preventing it) in their current form. (Milicic et al, 2018)
Link to COMPASS cannabis brochure
Cannabis legislation in Canada
In 2018, Canada federally legalized the recreational use of cannabis among adults, with minimum age requirements varying by province.
"After a steady decrease in patterns of cannabis use among youth over several years, it appears that there has been a gradual increase in cannabis use among youth following the start of discourse around cannabis legalization, with some populations of youth being at greater risk. " (Zuckermann et al, 2019)
Trends in cannabis use
Did you know?
- Among students participating in COMPASS in 2018/19, 26% have used cannabis at least once in their lifetime, and 13% report using at least monthly.
- Cannabis use increases with grade and spending money, and use is more common among males and indigenous students.
Cannabis use and mental health
Students who use cannabis more commonly report symptoms of depression and anxiety and these symptoms increase as cannabis is used more frequently. (Butler et al, 2019)
The presence of depressive symptoms, and poorer emotional regulation skills were associated with higher rates of cannabis use.(Romano et al, 2019)
Other health behaviours associated with cannabis use
- Polysubstance use, inclusive of cannabis, vaping and alcohol, was reported by 13.5% of Ontario and Alberta students. (Zuckermann et al, 2019)
- Escalation of cannabis use throughout high school was associated with being male, vaping, and low math marks. (Zuckermann et al, 2018)
- Students that engage in healthier behaviours (e.g., meeting screen time and sleep guidelines) are less likely to use cannabis. (Romano et al, 2019)
- Binge drinking, cigarette use, vaping, and opioid use were all associated with higher rates of cannabis use. (Romano et al, 2019)
Modes of use among students who use cannabis in 2018/19
Cannabis and school outcomes
- Improving school connectedness is protective against the frequency of cannabis use among students. (Weatherson et al, 2018)
- Students who used cannabis were less likely to attend class regularly, complete their homework, and achieve and value high marks, relative to their peers who abstained from using cannabis. (Patte et al, 2017; Williams et al, 2019)
Link to COMPASS alcohol brochure
Changes to the alcohol environment
- There have been a number of provincial government-led changes, such as extended hours of sale, and changes to where alcohol can be consumed and purchased, that may shift the social environment surrounding consumption.
- Youth in the jurisdictions exposed to the latest change in LCBO policy authorizing grocery stores to sell alcohol are more likely to transition from abstinence to high-risk regular drinking and high-risk regular drinkers are more likely to maintain their behaviours (Gohari. et al, under review)
Trends in frequency of alcohol use among students in the COMPASS Study
Did you know?
- Among Ontario students participating in the COMPASS study in 2018/10, 41% of males and 37% of females aged 15-19 have had more than a sip of alcohol in the last 30 days.
- Among grade 12 students participating in the COMPASS study in 2018/19, 75% have had more than a sip of alcohol at least once in their lifetime.
- "Male and upper grade students had greater likelihood of engaging in high [risk] level patterns of alcohol consumption." (Gohari et al, 2020)
Age of alcohol use in initiation among grade 12 students in 2018/19
Health behaviours and early initiation to alcohol consumption
- Early initiation of alcohol consumption increases the likelihood for older students to engage in heavy drinking. (Gohari et al, 2019)
- "Youth engaging in current binge drinking were approximately three times more likely to smoke tobacco and almost eight times more likely to use cannabis." (Butler et al, 2019)
- Students who started binge drinking in grade 10 or 11 had larger body weight and BMI increases in comparison to those who never became binge drinkers. (Vermeer et al, 2019)
- Younger age of first alcohol use was associated with increased Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA) in grade 12. (Williams et al, 2019)
Relating youth binge drinking to other health behaviours and outcomes
- The most common dual use of substances were alcohol and e-cigarettes. (Zuckermann et al, 2019)
- Grade 12 students with higher levels of school connectedness were more likely to use alcohol and binge drink. (Holligan et al, 2019)
- Team sport participation has been shown to be associated with binge drinking among COMPASS student participants. (Butler et al, 2019)
- Among adolescent girls, those who were considered dieters were at increased risk of becoming involved in binge drinking in subsequent years. (Raffoul et al, 2018)
- "Adolescents who initiate binge drinking have a relatively higher risk of poor academic performance, and a lack of preparedness and engagement" (Patte et al, 2017)