2016-17 Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey released today

News release

New results will help to ensure that policies are focused on areas of concern 

June 12, 2018     Ottawa, ON       Health Canada

Timely and reliable data are critical to developing evidence-based policies and programs that will help Canadians reduce the risks of substance use. Today, Health Canada published the results of the 2016-2017 Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CSTADS)

The national survey - which measures tobacco, alcohol and drug use among Canadian students in grades 7 to 12 (secondary I to V in Quebec) - provides valuable information that will inform approaches to addressing complex health and social issues such as the problematic use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, including opioids and cannabis. 

The research was conducted on behalf of Health Canada by the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo. The survey collected responses from more than 52,000 students and is a representative sample of the more than 2 million students of this age group in Canada. 

The Government of Canada continues to take action to address substance use issues among Canadians. This includes: 

  • Continued enhancement of the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy;
  • Budget 2018 investments for a range of actions, over five years, to improve treatment, address stigma and expand the evidence base on problematic substance use;
  • Budget 2018 investments to enhance Canada’s Tobacco Strategy, a comprehensive, integrated and sustained tobacco control program aimed at reducing tobacco-related disease and death; and
  • Significant investments to ensure that Canadians have access to information to understand the health and safety risks of cannabis use.


“The health of Canada’s youth is of great concern to us all. As a long-time advocate, I understand the challenges of encouraging youth to focus on good health. This survey helps us understand where we need to do more to support youth so that they can make healthier choices. It provides a solid foundation of evidence for our future policies and actions to address issues of substance use among young Canadians.” 

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

“All Canadians - especially our youth - deserve the opportunity to achieve optimal health, and to have a say in their own wellness. This is why the health and well-being of youth is a priority for me. These survey results shed light on how we can help youth address their unique health challenges and live long, healthy lives.”

Dr. Theresa Tam
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada 

Quick facts

  • There has been an overall decline in past 30-day use of any tobacco product among students. This reduction, from 12% to 10%, is a significant decline and is an encouraging result. Canada is working to reduce overall tobacco use to less than 5% by 2035.

  • 10% of students reported having used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days, an increase from 6% in 2014-15. 

  • The prevalence among Canadian students of high-risk drinking behaviour (i.e., having five or more drinks on one occasion) in the past 12 months remained unchanged from the 2014-15 survey at 24%. However, there was an increase in students’ reporting that they drank at least once in the past 12 months, from 40% to 44%.

  • Cannabis use among students has remained constant at 17%, unchanged from 2014-15.

  • Students’ overall perception of the risks of smoking cannabis has decreased: only 19% of students felt that smoking cannabis once in a while is a “great risk,” down from 25% in 2014‑15. 

Associated links


Thierry Bélair
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada

Public Inquiries:

Page details

Date modified: