Tobacco Use among Canadian Adults (15+), 2020

Smoking Prevalence

  • 10.3% of Canadians (approximately 3.2 million) were current smokers, significantly lower than the 2019 estimate of 11.9%.
  • The majority of smokers reported smoking daily (8.0% daily/2.4% non-daily prevalence).
  • Smoking prevalence was higher among males (12.1%) than females (8.6%).
  • Prevalence was highest among adults aged 45 to 54 and 55+, at 11.4%. Prevalence was lowest among youth aged 15 to 19, at 3.1%.
  • Smoking prevalence differed between provinces.

Cigarette Consumption

  • Daily smokers in Canada smoked an average of 12.5 cigarettes per day.
  • Average consumption has declined by nearly 5 cigarettes per day since 1999.
  • Male daily smokers consumed about 3 cigarettes more per day than females (13.3 vs. 10.2).
  • In 2021, Canadians purchased nearly 21 billion cigarettes.

Use of Other Tobacco Products

  • Cigarillos and cigars were the most popular tobacco products other than cigarettes: 2.5% of Canadians reported using cigarillos or cigars in the past 30 days.
  • Cigar and cigarillo use were more prevalent among males.
  • Young people aged 15-24 reported the highest prevalence of cigar and cigarillo use.

Quitting Smoking, 2020

  • The majority (70.6%) of Canadians who have ever been smokers have now quit.

Quit Attempts and Success

  • Almost half of smokers (44.5%) had tried to quit in the past year; nearly one-third (31.8%) tried more than once.
  • Similar percentages of males and females had made a quit attempt in the past year.
  • Quit attempts were similar across age groups.
  • Among respondents who had made a quit attempt in the past year, 15.4% were still abstinent from smoking at the time they were surveyed.

Cessation Assistance

  • Over two-thirds of smokers who attempted to quit used some form of cessation assistance.
  • The most commonly used forms of cessation assistance were nicotine replacement therapy (31.8%), and e-cigarettes (26.5%).

Tobacco Use among Canadian Youth

Youth in Grades 7-9, in 2018-19:

  • Nearly one in ten students in grades 7-9 (9.3%) had ever tried smoking a cigarette.
  • 1.0% of students in grades 7-9 were current smokers overall, varying by grade.
    • Similar proportions were daily (0.4%) and non-daily (0.6%) smokers.
    • Smoking prevalence was similar between males (1.1%) and females (0.9%).
  • Daily smokers in grades 7-9 smoked an average of 8.8 cigarettes per day.
  • 5.1% of students in grades 7-9 had ever smoked a cigar or cigarillo.
  • Most smokers in grades 7-9 usually obtained their cigarettes from social sources.
  • The majority of current smokers in grades 7-9 reported ever trying to quit smoking.

Youth Aged 15-19, in 2020:

  • One in ten youth (10.5%) aged 15-19 reported ever having smoked a whole cigarette.
  • More males (12.8%) than females (7.8%) had smoked a whole cigarette.
  • Overall, 3.1% of youth aged 15-19 were current smokers (including daily and non-daily).

E-cigarette Use among Canadians (15+), 2020

Vaping Prevalence

  • A substantial number of Canadians had tried e-cigarettes, but fewer reported regular use: 16.6% (5.2 million) reported having ever tried an e-cigarette; 4.7% had used one in the past 30 days, and 2.3% reported daily use.
  • Between 2019 and 2020, prevalence of e-cigarette use did not change significantly, for ever, past 30-day, or daily use.
  • E-cigarette use was most prevalent among young people: 35.2% of  youth aged 15-19 and 43.3% of young adults aged 20-24 reported ever trying an e-cigarette.
  • Prevalence of e-cigarette use was much greater among smokers: 47.5% of current smokers had ever used e-cigarettes, compared to 13.0% of non-smokers. Past 30-day use was 16.5% among current smokers and 3.3% among non-smokers.

E-cigarette Products and Sources

  • Most past 30-day vapers (84.4%) reported using an e-liquid with nicotine in the past month, while just one in five (21.1%) reported using an e-liquid without nicotine.
  • Fruit and mint/menthol were the most popular usual flavours of e-cigarettes. Fruit was more popular among younger users, and tobacco flavour was more common among older users.
  • The majority of vapers got their e-cigarette devices and liquids from vape shops.

Perceptions and Reasons for Use

  • Nearly one-third of all respondents believed that e-cigarettes with nicotine were about as harmful as cigarettes, and another third did not know how harmful they were compared to cigarettes.
  • Among past 30-day users, more than one-third (37.6%) reported that their main reason for using e-cigarettes was to quit, cut down on, or avoid returning to smoking cigarettes.

Quitting E-cigarettes

  • More than one-third of past 30-day e-cigarette users (36.4%) reported that they had attempted to quit vaping in the past year.

Youth in Grades 7-9, in 2018-19:

  • 21.0% of Canadian students in grades 7-9 reported having ever tried an e-cigarette, and 11.1% had used one in the past 30 days.
  • Nearly 9 in 10 current smokers in grades 7-9 had used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, compared to approximately 7% of non-smokers.