Research points to troubling youth tobacco trends
Cigarette smoking is declining about Canadian youth, but the growing popularity of hookah bars and cigarillos is causing concern.
Cigarette smoking is declining about Canadian youth, but the growing popularity of hookah bars and cigarillos is causing concern.By Bob Burtt Communications & Public Affairs
The number of young cigarette smokers is on the decline, but there are still troubling trends with young people and tobacco use says, Heather McGrath, knowledge translation officer with the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact.
Propel, a partnership between the University of Waterloo and the Canadian Cancer Society, works to improve health through tobacco control and youth health programs.
The 2010-2011 Youth Smoking Survey, funded by Health Canada and conducted at Propel, found that 93,870 fewer Canadian youth in grades six to 12 had smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days, as compared to the year before.
While that is encouraging, McGrath noted that researchers continue to be concerned about the popularity of cigarillos, water-pipes and hookah bars. A hookah bar is a place where people go to smoke flavoured tobacco from a communal hooka or water-pipe.
Commenting in May after the release of the youth smoking survey, Propel senior scientist Steve Manske said water-pipe smoking might lead to tobacco addiction among youth who are otherwise non-smokers. He said use of water-pipes increases exposure to tobacco toxins and re-opens the issue of second-hand smoke.
Propel researchers are also concerned about approximately 625,000 Canadian youth who don’t smoke, but haven’t made a firm decision to remain smoke free.
Statistics from Tobacco Use in Canada: Patterns and Trends, 2012 edition, an annual report supported by Propel, indicate that: