Ever smoking - Grades 7-9

In 2018-19, the majority (90.7%) of students surveyed in grades 7-9 had never tried smoking cigarettes, ranging from 94.6%a in grade 7 to 86.6%b in grade 9. However, 9.3% of students overall had tried smoking; Figure 6.1 provides a breakdown of the smoking status of these students.

Bar chart showing smoking status of students in grades 7 to 9 who had ever tried smoking cigarettes from 2018 to 2019. Trends described in text. Data table below with 95% confidence intervals.

In 2018-19, the percentages of male (9.1%c) and female (9.4%d) students in grades 7-9 who had tried smoking cigarettes were not significantly different.33


The overall percentage of students in grades 7-9 who had ever tried smoking dropped substantially between 1994 and 2002, and appears to have declined slowly since then; the slight increase in prevalence of ever smoking between 2016-17 and 2018-19 was not statistically significant34 (Figure 6.2). The percentage of students who had tried smoking a cigarette increased with grade level: in 2018-19, 5.4% of students in grade 7 had tried smoking, compared to 13.4% of grade 9 students.

Bar chart showing percentage of students in grades 7 to 9 who have ever tried smoking a cigarette, by grade, from 1994 to 2018-19. Trends described in text. Data table below with 95% confidence intervals.


Bar chart showing percentage of students in grades 7 to 9 who had ever tried smoking a cigarette, by province, from 2018 to 2019. Trends described in text. Data table below with 95% confidence intervals.The percentage of students in grades 7-9 who had ever tried smoking a cigarette varied significantly by province35 (Figure 6.3). For example, 4.4% of youth in Ontario had tried smoking, while more than quadruple that (19.8%) in Saskatchewan had tried.


95% confidence intervals for in-text estimates 

a: 94.6 [93.8-95.4]
b: 86.6 [83.7-89.5]
c: 9.1 [8.0-10.1]
d: 9.4 [7.8-11.1]