E-cigarette use in Canada

2017 data presents a snapshot of e-cigarette use prior to new federal regulations in May 2018.

In 2017 among Canadians age 15 and older:

Many Canadians had tried e-cigarettes, but few reported using them daily:

  • 15.4% (4.6 million) reported having ever tried an e-cigarette; 
  • 2.9% (~863,000) used one in the past 30 days; 
  • 1.0% (~292,000) reported daily use.

Ever use of e-cigarettes increased significantly between 2015 and 2017, while past 30-day use did not change significantly.

Among past 30-day users of e-cigarettes, approximately one-third used them every day.

E-cigarette use was most prevalent among younger age groups: 

  • 29.3% of young adults aged 20 to 24 and 25.6% of those aged 25 to 34 reported ever trying an  e-cigarette, as did 22.8% of youth aged 15 to 19. 
  • Approximately 6% of youth and young adults had used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days. 

Ever use of e-cigarettes was more prevalent among males (18.8%) than females (12.0%), as was past 30-day use (3.6% vs. 2.2%, respectively).

  • Sex differences were more pronounced among younger age groups. 

Past 30-day e-cigarette use varied significantly by province.

Prevalence of e-cigarette use was much greater among smokers: 

  • 54.1% of current smokers had ever used e-cigarettes, compared to 6.7% of nonsmokers.
  • Past 30-day use was 12.2% among current smokers and 2.4% among non-smokers. 

Nearly two-thirds of e-cigarette users (64.4%) reported that the last e-cigarette they used contained nicotine, despite nicotine-containing e-cigarettes not being approved for sale in Canada at the time of the survey. 

Fruit and tobacco were the most commonly cited flavours of e-cigarettes “last used”. Fruit flavours were most popular among younger users, while tobacco flavour was more popular among older users and smokers. 

Among all ever users, nearly one-quarter (23.6%) reported using e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking within the past two years.

Nearly half (44.6%) of e-cigarette ever-users who were also cigarette smokers reported using an e-cigarette when they were unable to smoke, or to smoke fewer cigarettes. 

Among youth in grades 7-9, in 2016-17:

  • 12.6% of Canadian students in grades 7-9 reported having ever tried an e-cigarette. 
  • 5.4% had used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days. 
  • Two-thirds of current smokers in grades 7-9 had used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, compared to approximately 5% of non-smokers. 
  • E-cigarette use varied by province: prevalence was lowest in Ontario, highest in Nova Scotia.