Youth tobacco use

Among youth in grades 7-9, in 2018-19:

Nearly one in ten students in grades 7-9 (9.3%) overall had ever tried a cigarette, ranging from 5.4% in grade 7 to 13.4% in grade 9.

1.0% of students in grades 7-9 were current smokers overall, with grade-specific estimates ranging from 0.6% in grade 7 to 1.5% in grade 9.

  • Smokers were fairly evenly split between daily (0.4%) and non-daily (0.6%) smoking.
  • Similar percentages of males (1.1%) and females (0.9%) were current smokers.
  • Prevalence varied by province, and was highest in New Brunswick, at 2.6%.

Daily smokers in grades 7-9 smoked an average of 8.8 cigarettes per day.

4.7% of students in grades 7-9 had ever smoked a cigar or cigarillo. 

One in twenty students in grades 7-9 (5.1%) 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.

The majority (61%) of current smokers in grades 7-9 reported ever trying to quit smoking.

Among youth aged 15 to 19, in 2020:

One in ten youth (10.5%) reported ever having smoked a whole cigarette, ranging from 6.4% of 15- to 17-year-olds to 15.6% of 18-year-olds and 20.3% of 19-year-olds.

  • Significantly more males (12.8%) than females (7.8%) had smoked a whole cigarette.

Overall, 3.1% of youth aged 15 to 19 were current smokers.

  • This represented a significant decrease from the 2019 estimate of 5.1%.