The Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Youth Survey (CSTADS; formerly the Youth Smoking Survey, YSS) was implemented with the co-operation, support and funding of Health Canada, and conducted by a consortium of researchers across Canada. It is co-ordinated centrally by the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo.

The YSS monitored tobacco use in school-aged children (Grades 6-9/10-12), and collected data on the smoking behaviour of students, social and demographic factors, attitudes and beliefs about smoking, cigarette purchasing and other policy-relevant items, as well as experience with alcohol and drugs. The YSS used a repeated cross-sectional survey design. Seven waves of the YSS were conducted: 1994, 2002, 2004-05, 2006-07, 2008-09, 2010-11, and 2012-13.

YSS data was collected through classroom-based surveys of students in Grades 6 to 9 (and Grades 10-12 from 2006-07 onward; Grade 5 was also included in waves prior to and including 2006-07) attending a generalizable sample of private, public, and Catholic schools.

Participating students completed a 30-40 minute written survey in their classroom; these surveys were scanned (in 2004-05, 2006-07, 2008-09, 2010-11 and 2012-13) or data captured (in 1994 and 2002) and cleaned to create the final data sets.

Variations in sampling by cycle

Sampling procedures varied by survey wave. In all years, the sample excluded residents of the Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest Territories, residents of institutions, residents of First Nations reserves, and those attending special schools (e.g., schools for visually-/hearing-impaired individuals) or schools located on military bases.