Youth tobacco use

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

8.6% of students in grades 7-9 overall had ever tried a cigarette, ranging from 4.4% in grade 7 to 13.5% in grade 9. 

One-third of never-smokers in grades 7-9 were classified as susceptible to smoking.

1.0% of students in grades 7-9 were current smokers overall, with grade-specific estimates ranging from 0.3% in grade 7 to 1.9% in grade 9.

  • Smokers were fairly evenly split between daily (0.4%) and non-daily (0.5%) smoking. 
  • Similar percentages of males (1.1%) and females (0.8%) were current smokers. 
  • Prevalence varied by province, and was highest in Newfoundland & Labrador, at 2.5%. 

Daily smokers in grades 7-9 smoked an average of 7.5 cigarettes per day. 

4.7% 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, including buying, taking, or being given cigarettes by friends, family or others, or having others buy cigarettes for them.

Three-quarters of current smokers in grades 7-9 reported ever trying to quit smoking. 

Among youth aged 15 to 19, in 2017:

One in six youth (16.4%) reported ever having smoked a whole cigarette, ranging from 6.7% of 15-year-olds to 24.6% of 19-year-olds.

Overall, 7.9% of youth aged 15 to 19 were current smokers, with age-specific rates ranging from 4.1% among 15- and 16-year-olds to 14.4% of 19-year-olds. 

  • Daily smoking (2.9%) accounted for less than half of youth prevalence (4.9% non-daily).      
  • Prevalence was significantly higher among males (9.7%) than females (5.9%). 
  • Saskatchewan had the highest provincial prevalence estimate, at 21.9%. 

16% of youth aged 15 to 19 had ever smoked a cigarillo; 10% had ever smoked a cigar.

  • Males were more likely to have used these products: 16% of males (vs. 5% of females) had smoked a cigar, while 21% of males (vs. 10% of females) had smoked a cigarillo. 

Daily smokers aged 15 to 19 smoked an average of 9.4 cigarettes per day. 

Among smokers aged 15 to 18, the most common source of cigarettes was buying them from a store (44%), while 37% were given cigarettes by social sources, and one in five obtained them through “other” sources (including buying from others and on/from First Nations Reserves). 

Six out of ten smokers aged 15 to 19 were seriously considering quitting in the next 6 months. 

Half of smokers aged 15 to 19 had made a quit attempt in the past 12 months.