Canadian Tobacco Alcohol and Drugs (CTADS): 2015 summary

Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CTADS) – Corrections posted March 2017

Introduction

The Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CTADS) is a biennial general population survey of tobacco, alcohol and drug use among Canadians aged 15 years and older. The CTADS is conducted by Statistics Canada on behalf of Health Canada.

Understanding Canadian trends in tobacco, alcohol and drug use is vital to the effective development, implementation and evaluation of national and provincial strategies, policies and programs.

The following summary presents findings based on the second biennial CTADS data collection, which commenced in February 2015 and ended in December 2015. The results for 2015 are based on telephone interviews with 15,154 respondents across all 10 provinces, representing a weighted total of 29.7 million Canadian residents aged 15 years and older. A summary of the key results is provided below. A set of detailed tables and some definitions used in this report are also provided.

All reported increases, decreases, and “differences” in the text below are statistically significant changes. The words “statistically significant” will not be used so as to allow for more readable text. “Unchanged” refers to differences that are not statistically significant.

It should be noted that where numbers of individuals are provided along with prevalence, these numbers are estimates.

Tobacco Products and E-cigarette Use

Current Cigarette Smoking

According to the Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CTADS), the prevalence of current cigarette smoking in 2015 was 13% (3.9 million smokers), a decrease from 15% (4.2 million smokers) in 2013 and the lowest national smoking rate ever recorded. Nine percent (9%) of Canadians (2.8 million) reported smoking daily, a decrease from 11% (3.1 million) reported in 2013. The prevalence of occasional smoking was 4%, unchanged from 2013. A higher percentage of males (16% or 2.3 million) than females (10% or 1.6 million) reported current smoking. Daily smokers smoked an average of 13.8 cigarettes per day, unchanged from 2013. Male daily smokers consumed an average of 15.2 cigarettes per day compared to 11.9 cigarettes per day for female daily smokers.

Youth Cigarette Smoking (Aged 15-19 Years)

In 2015, current cigarette smoking among youth aged 15 to 19 was 10% (201,000), unchanged from 2013. Four percent (4%) of youth reported smoking daily while 5% of youth reported smoking occasionally [daily and occasional rates do not add to 10% for current smoking due to rounding]. There was no difference in the prevalence of current cigarette smoking between male and female youth. 

In 2015, the smoking rate among youth aged 15 to 17 was 6% (72,000), unchanged from 2013. Three percent (3%) of youth aged 15 to 17 smoked daily, while 3% smoked occasionally.

Fifteen percent (15% or 129,000) of older youth aged 18 to 19 were current cigarette smokers in 2015, unchanged from 2013. Six percent (6%) smoked daily and 8% smoked occasionally. Daily and occasional rates do not add to 15% for current smoking due to rounding.

Young Adult Cigarette Smoking (Aged 20-24 Years)

The prevalence of smoking among young adults aged 20 to 24 was 18% (452,000) in 2015, unchanged from 2013. The current smoking rate for young adult males was 22% (281,000), higher than the rate for females at 14% (171,000).

The rate of daily smoking among young adults in 2015 was 10%, while another 8% smoked occasionally. There was no difference in the prevalence of daily smoking between males and females. Young adults who reported smoking daily consumed an average of 11.8 cigarettes per day, unchanged from 2013.

Adult Cigarette Smoking (Aged 25 Years and Older)

The prevalence of current cigarette smoking among Canadian adults aged 25 years and older was 13% (3.2 million), a decrease from 15% (3.6 million) reported in 2013. Males (15%) had a higher current smoking rate compared to females (10%).

There was also a decrease in the rate of daily smoking to 10% (2.4 million) in 2015, from 11% in 2013, while occasional smoking remained unchanged at 3%. Males (11%) had a higher prevalence of daily smoking compared to females (8%). Adults who reported smoking daily consumed an average of 14.1 cigarettes per day, unchanged from 2013. Adult males who reported smoking daily consumed an average of 15.6 cigarettes per day; adult females reported consuming 11.9.

Use of Any Tobacco Product

Respondents were asked about past-30-day use of a number of tobacco products including: cigarettes (including menthol), cigars, little cigars or cigarillos, smokeless tobacco, water-pipe and pipes.  

In 2015, 15% (4.6 million) of Canadians aged 15 years and older reported using at least one tobacco product in the past 30 days, lower than the 17% (5.0 million) reported in 2013. The prevalence of past-30-day use of at least one tobacco product was 13% (271,000) among youth aged 15 to 19 and 24% (582,000) among young adults aged 20 to 24, both unchanged from 2013. Fifteen percent (15% or 3.7 million) of adults aged 25 years and older reported use of at least one tobacco product in the past 30 days, a decrease from 17% (4.2 million) in 2013. Prevalence of past-30-day use of at least one tobacco product in 2015 was higher among males (20% or 2.8 million) than females (12% or 1.7 million).

Menthol Cigarettes

Among Canadians aged 15 years and older, 2% (476,000) reported smoking menthol cigarettes in the past 30 days. Two percent (2% or 34,000) of youth aged 15 to 19 and 1% (351,000) of adults 25 years and older reported past-30-day use of menthol cigarettes. The prevalence of past-30-day use of menthol cigarettes was 4% (90,000) among young adults aged 20 to 24, higher than both youth and adults aged 25 years and older. There was no difference in the prevalence of past-30-day use of menthol cigarettes between males and females.

Among Canadians aged 15 years and older who reported smoking menthol cigarettes in the past 30 days, almost half (46% or 220,000) reported that their usual brand of cigarettes were menthol cigarettes. A higher proportion of adults aged 25 years and older (54%) reported that menthol cigarettes were their usual brand of cigarettes, compared to young adults aged 20 to 24 (27%). The sample size for youth aged 15 to 19 was too small to provide an estimate.

Cigars

An estimated 2% (736,000) of Canadians aged 15 years and older reported smoking any type of cigarFootnote 1 in the past 30 days, a decline from 2013 (3%). The prevalence of past-30-day use of any type of cigar was 3% among youth aged 15 to 19, 7% among young adults aged 20 to 24 and 2% among adults aged 25 years and older.

In 2015, 2% (520,000) of Canadians aged 15 years and older reported smoking little cigars or cigarillos in the past 30 days, a decrease compared to 2013 (3%). An estimated 3% of Canadian youth aged 15 to 19, and 6% of young adults aged 20 to 24 reported smoking a little cigar or cigarillo in the past 30 days. The prevalence of past-30-day use of little cigars or cigarillos among adults aged 25 years and older was 1% in 2015, a decrease from 2% in 2013.

Among youth aged 15 to 19 who smoked little cigars or cigarillos in the past 30 days, 59% (36,000) reported smoking a flavoured little cigar or cigarillo product.

Water-pipe Tobacco

Past-30-day use of a water-pipe to smoke tobacco was reported by less than 1% (157,000) of Canadians aged 15 years and older, unchanged from 2013. Two percent (2% or 36,000) of youth aged 15 to 19, and 3% (65,000) of young adults aged 20 to 24 reported using a water-pipe to smoke tobacco in the past 30 days, unchanged from 2013. The prevalence of past-30-day use of a water-pipe to smoke tobacco among adults aged 25 years and older was not reportable due to small sample size.

Canadians who reported using a water-pipe during the past 30 days were asked if they believe that smoking tobacco in a water-pipe is more harmful than smoking cigarettes. Forty-three percent (43%) believed that smoking tobacco in a water-pipe was more harmful and 21% believed it was less harmful than smoking cigarettes.

Smokeless Tobacco

In 2015, the prevalence of past-30-day smokeless tobacco use was under 1% (113,000) for Canadians aged 15 years and older. Among youth aged 15 to 19, 1%  reported past-30-day smokeless tobacco use, while 2% of young adults aged 20 to 24 and less than 1% of adults aged 25 years and older reported the same. These results were unchanged from 2013.

Cigarette Sources

In 2015, current smokers were asked where they usually get their cigarettes. Just over three-quarters (77%) reported buying them at a small grocery or corner store, up from 58% reported in 2013. This change may be due to gas stations no longer standing as a separate category.  Six percent (6%) of current smokers bought their cigarettes at a supermarket, 4% bought them at another kind of store, 3% purchased their cigarettes on or from a First Nations Reserve, 1% bought them from friends or someone else they know and 6% were given their cigarettes by family, friends or others; all unchanged from 2013.

Among youth who were too young to be legally sold cigarettes in their province of residence, 50% reported obtaining their cigarettes from a regular retail outlet as their usual source rather than getting them from a social source (such as for free from a family member), unchanged from 2013.

Cheaper Cigarettes

Twelve percent (12% or 440,000) of current smokers reported purchasing cigarettes on a First Nations reserve, unchanged from 2013. Fifteen percent (15%) of youth smokers aged 15 to 19, 13% of young adult smokers aged 20 to 24 and 11% of adult smokers aged 25 years and older reported purchasing cigarettes on a First Nations Reserve in the past 6 months.

Electronic Cigarettes

Overall in 2015, 13% (3.9 million) of Canadians aged 15 years and older reported having ever tried an e-cigarette, an increase from 9% (2.5 million) reported in 2013. Twenty-six percent (26% or 534,000) of youth aged 15 to 19, and 30% (743,000) young adults aged 20 to 24 reported having ever tried an e-cigarette. Eleven percent (11% or 2.6 million) of adults aged 25 years and older said they have tried an e-cigarette.

Past-30-day use of e-cigarettes was reported by 3% of Canadians aged 15 years and older (946,000), an increase from 2013 (2%). Six percent (6% or 131,000) of youth aged 15 to 19, 6% (154,000) of young adults aged 20 to 24 and 3% (661,000) of adults aged 25 years and older had used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days, an increase in each of the age categories compared to 2013.

Among past-30-day e-cigarette users, 63% (594,000) were current smokers, 24% (230,000) former smokers and 13% (121,000) were never smokers. Amongst never cigarette smokers who reported using an e-cigarette in the past 30 days, 41% (50,000) were youth aged 15 to 19 and 26% (31,000) were young adults aged 20 to 24. The sample size for adult never smokers aged 25 years and older was too small to provide an estimate. Canadians who had ever tried an e-cigarette were asked about their usual flavour of e-cigarette. Forty-four percent (44%) reported that they had no usual e-cigarette flavour, 24% reported fruit flavour, 14% tobacco flavour while 6% said candy/dessert, 5% mint/menthol, and 7% an “other” flavour.

Among Canadians aged 15 years and older who had used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days, 32% reported fruit as their usual flavour, 26% reported tobacco flavour and 24% reported no usual flavour. Among youth aged 15 to 19, 44% reported fruit as their usual flavour as did 39% of young adults aged 20 to 24.  For adults aged 25 years and older, 33% reported tobacco flavour as their usual flavor, followed by 28% reporting fruit flavour.

Among Canadians who had ever tried an e-cigarette, 48% (1.9 million) reported that the last e-cigarette they used contained nicotine, compared to 35% (1.3 million) who reported using an e-cigarette that did not contain nicotine, while 18% (692,000) were unsure.

Half (50% or 893,000) of current or former smokers who had ever tried an e-cigarette reported using it as a cessation aid in the past two years. CTADS did not include questions about the success of any smoking cessation attempts using e-cigarettes.

Provinces

Provincial current smoking rates for Canadians aged 15 years and older ranged from a low of 10% in British Columbia to a high of 18% in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. Cigarette consumption among daily smokers ranged from a low of 10.9 cigarettes per day in Manitoba to a high of 15.5 in New Brunswick.

Past-30-day use of at least one tobacco product (cigarettes, cigars, little cigars or cigarillos, smokeless tobacco, water-pipe and pipe) ranged from a low of 14% in British Columbia, Ontario and Prince Edward Island to a high of 20% in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan.

Smoking Cessation

In 2015, 27% (8.1 million) of Canadians aged 15 years and older reported being former smokers. Six percent (6%) of former smokers had quit less than one year prior to the survey, while the remaining 94% were long-term quitters.

Among daily cigarette smokers aged 15 years and older, 50% (1.3 million) had made at least one quit attempt lasting 24 hours in the past year and 33% tried to quit on two or more separate occasions.

Daily smokers were asked if they were considering quitting. Sixty-three percent (63% or 1.7 million) of daily smokers reported they were considering quitting in the next 6 months. Amongst this group, 41% (642,000) were considering quitting in the next 30 days.

Drug Use and Abuse

Respondents were asked about past-year use of various illicit drugs including cannabis, cocaine or crack, ecstasy, speed or methamphetamines, hallucinogens or heroin. 

The prevalence of past-year use of at least one of six illicit drugs was 13% (or 3.7 million), an increase from 11% (or 3.1 million) in 2013. The observed increase from the previous cycle in prevalence of use of at least one of six drugs, results from an increase in use of cannabis, hallucinogens and ecstasy between the two survey cycles.

Overall, the prevalence of past-year illicit drug use was higher among males (15% or 2.2 million) than females (10% or 1.5 million).  Use of at least one of these six illicit drugs was also higher among youth aged 15 to 19 years (21% or 432,000) and young adults aged 20 to 24 years (31% or 741,000) than among adults aged 25 years or older (10% or 2.5 million).

Cannabis Use

Cannabis was the most prevalently used illicit drug.

In 2015, the prevalence of past-year cannabis use was 12% (or 3.6 million), an increase compared to 2013 (11% or 3.1 million). In 2015, past-year cannabis use was more prevalent among males (15% or 2.2 million) than females (10% or 1.4 million), consistent with results reported in CTADS 2013 and previous national drug survey cycles of the Canadian Alcohol and Drug Use Monitoring Survey.

While prevalence of cannabis use among males (15%) was not different from 2013 (14%), there was an increase in the prevalence of cannabis use among females, from 7% in 2013 to 10% in 2015.

The median age of initiating use of cannabis was 17 years old for males and females, unchanged from the median age recorded in 2013. Use of cannabis was more prevalent among youth aged 15 to 19 (21% or 426,000) and young adults aged 20 to 24 (30% or 715,000) than among adults aged 25 or older (10% or 2.5 million).  Cannabis use among adults aged 25 and older increased from 8% in 2013 to 10% in 2015, but was statistically unchanged compared to 2013 for youth aged 15 to 19 and for young adults.

Among past-year cannabis users, 24% (or 831,000) reported using it for medical purposes. The survey does not collect information on how users of cannabis for medical purposes obtain that cannabis.

For the first time, the 2015 cycle included a question on whether cannabis was consumed via a vapourizer. More than one quarter of past-year cannabis users (28% or 999,000) reported using such a device to consume cannabis. 

The majority (72% or 2.6 million) of past-year cannabis users reported using cannabis in the past 3 months and many reported consuming cannabis on a daily or almost daily basis (33% or 840,000).

Provincial prevalence of past-year cannabis use ranged from 8% in Prince Edward Island (or 10,000 Prince Edward Island residents) to 17% in British Columbia (or 678,000 British Columbia residents).

Other Illicit Drug Use

Respondents were asked about past-year use of illicit drugs including cocaine or crack, ecstasy, speed or methamphetamines, hallucinogens or heroin. This section excludes cannabis.

Past-year use of at least one of five illicit drugs monitored was 2% (or 678,000), an increase from 1.6% (or 458,000) in 2013. This increase is associated with an increase in the use of hallucinogens and ecstasy, compared to 2013.

Overall, prevalence of the use of these illicit drugs was lower among females (1% or 217,000) than males (3% or 461,000), despite an increase in the prevalence of illicit drug use among females from 0.8% in 2013 to 1% in 2015.

Past-year use of at least one of five illicit drugs was higher among youth aged 15 to 19 (5% or 103,000) and young adults aged 20 to 24 (9% or 211,000) than among adults aged 25 or older (1% or 364,000).

While past-year illicit drug use remained low, there was an increase in the prevalence of use for two illicit drugs: almost one percent (0.7% or 216,000) of Canadians reported using ecstasy, an increase from 0.4% in 2013; and 1.2% used hallucinogens, an increase from 0.6% in 2013. There was no change in prevalence of use of cocaine or crack (1.2% or 353,000) or speed/methamphetamine (0.2% or 59,000). It is not possible to reliably report on heroin use because too few survey respondents reported having used heroin in the past-year.

Past-year use was more prevalent among males than females for ecstasy (1.0% males versus 0.5% females), hallucinogens (1.8% males versus 0.6% females) and cocaine or crack (1.5% males versus 0.9% females).

Use and Abuse of Psychoactive Pharmaceutical Drugs

CTADS includes questions relating to the use and abuse of three classes of psychoactive pharmaceutical drugs: opioid pain relievers, stimulants (such as medication prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), and tranquillizers and sedatives. While these drugs are prescribed for therapeutic purposes, they have the potential to be abused due to their psychoactive properties.

Among respondents who had reported using psychoactive pharmaceuticals, further questions were asked to determine whether the drugs were used for reasons other than for prescribed therapeutic purposes including use for the experience, the feeling they caused, to get high, to feel better (improve mood) or to cope with stress or problems. In the text below, such non-therapeutic use will be referred to as abuse.

The overall rate of psychoactive pharmaceutical use among Canadians aged 15 years and older was 22% (or 6.2 million), not different from 2013 also at 22% (or 6.4 million). The prevalence of past-year psychoactive pharmaceutical use in 2015 was higher among females (25% or 3.6 million) than males (18% or 2.6 million).The reported rate of such use was lower among youth aged 15 to 19 (15% or 311,000) than in young adults aged 20 to 24 (19% or 455,000) and adults aged 25 or older (22% or 5.5 million). The prevalence of psychoactive pharmaceutical use for males and females was not different from 2013 (25% or 3.7 million females and 19% or 2.7 million males). There were also no differences in the prevalence of use compared to 2013 for each age category: 18% or 383,000 of youth aged 15 to 19; 20% or 486,000 of adults aged 20 to 24; and 23% or 5.5 million of adults aged 25 and older.

In 2015, of those who reported having used psychoactive pharmaceuticals in the past year, 3% (or 171,000) reported having abused such a drug (i.e., used it for the experience, the feeling it caused, to get high or for “other” reasons). The prevalence of past-year abuse among users in 2015 was not different between males (4% or 97,000) and females (2% or 73,000). The reported rate of abuse among past year users was higher among youth aged 15 to 19 (11% or 31,000) and young adults aged 20 to 24 (14% or 63,000) than adults aged 25 or older (1% or 77,000). Overall, the proportion of abuse translates into 0.6% of the population aged 15 years and older and remains unchanged compared to 2013 (0.5%). The prevalence of psychoactive pharmaceutical abuse among users for males and females was not different from 2013 (3% or 75,000 males and 2% or 71,000 females). There were also no differences in the prevalence compared to 2013 for each age category: 10% or 36,000 of youth aged 15 to 19 ; 9% or 40,000 of young adults aged 20 to 24; and 1% or 70,000 of adults aged 25 years and older.

Opioid Pain Relievers

Of the three classes of psychoactive pharmaceuticals, opioid pain relievers were the most prevalently used with 13% (or 3.8 million) of Canadians aged 15 years and older reporting having used such a drug at some point in the past year. This represents a decrease in the prevalence of use compared to 2013 (15% or 4.3 million). The prevalence of past-year opioid pain reliever use in 2015 was not different between females (14%) and males (12%) and not different to the 2013 results (16% and 14% respectively).

Among the 13% of Canadians who used opioid pain relievers in the past year, 2% (or 83,000) reported abusing them. This proportion translates into 0.3% of the population aged 15 and older. The prevalence of opioid pain reliever abuse remains unchanged compared to 2013 (2% of users or 0.3% of the population aged 15 years and older, i.e., 99,000). The reported rate of opioid abuse was not reportable for any age group (that is, not reportable for the sub-groups of youth, young adults, or adults older than 25).

Stimulants

In 2015, 1% (or 338,000) of Canadians aged 15 years and older reported having used a stimulant in the past year, a prevalence of use unchanged from 2013 (1% or 256,000). There was no difference between males and females (1% or 189,000 males and 1% or 148,000 females). Past-year use of stimulants was higher among youth aged 15 to 19 (5% or 100,000) and young adults aged 20 to 24 (4% or 102,000) than among adults aged 25 years and older (0.5% or 136,000).

Twenty-three percent (23% or 67,000) of those who reported past-year stimulant use reported abusing such a drug, representing 0.2% of Canadians aged 15 years and older. Too few respondents reported stimulant abuse to make a comparison in stimulant abuse between sexes reportable. The rate of stimulant abuse among users was 41% (or 37,000) for young adults aged 20 to 24 while the rate of youth aged 15 to 19 and adults aged 25 or older was not reportable. Although this prevalence of stimulant abuse was reported in 2013, too few young adult respondents reported this behaviour under the current reporting guidelines to be compared with the 2015 results.

Sedatives

In 2015, 10% (or 3.1 million) of Canadians aged 15 years and older reported past-year use of sedatives, a prevalence unchanged from 2013 (10% or 3 million). The prevalence of such use by females (14% or 2 million) was twice as high as that of males (7% or 1.1 million). However, it was not different from the prevalence of sedative use observed in 2013 (13% or 2 million females and 7% or 1 million males). Past-year use of sedatives was higher among adults aged 25 years and older (11% or 2.8 million) than for youth aged 15 to 19 (5% or 94,000) and young adults aged 20 to 24 (7% or 161,000).

In 2015, of those who reported past-year use of sedatives, 3% (or 83,000) reported abusing such a drug. This proportion translates into 0.3% of the population aged 15 and older. Too few respondents reported abusing sedatives in 2013 to make a comparison between sedative abuse in 2013 and in 2015. Too few respondents reported abusing sedatives in 2015 to produce estimates by sex or age category.

Harms Related to Illicit Drug Use

Respondents were asked if there ever was a time that they felt their illicit drug use had a harmful effect on one of eight factors: physical health, friendships and social life, financial position, home life or marriage, work, studies, or employment opportunities, legal problems, difficulty learning or housing problems.

Overall, 3% (or 819,000) of Canadians aged 15 years and older reported experiencing at least one harm in the past year due to their illicit drug use, a prevalence unchanged compared to 2013 (3% or 821,000). The prevalence of reported harm as a result of one’s own illicit drug use was higher among males (4% or 540,000) than females (2% or 278,000). Youth aged 15 to 19 years (6% or 128,000) and young adults aged 20 to 24 (8% or 193,000) reported harm due to their own illicit drug use at a higher rate than adults aged 25 and older (2% or 498,000). The prevalence of reported harm was higher among individuals who reported both the use of an illicit drug and the abuse of a psychoactive pharmaceutical. One in six (15% or 558,000) of these current illicit drug users and those who reported having abused psychoactive pharmaceuticals reported having experienced some harm in the past year due to their drug use, a decrease from 2013 (20% or 636,000).

Alcohol

Respondents were asked about alcohol use, including questions examining the quantity of alcohol consumed.

Prevalence of Alcohol Use

In 2015, 77% (or 22.7 million) of Canadians reported consuming an alcoholic beverage in the past year, a prevalence unchanged from 2013 (76% or 21.9 million). There was a higher prevalence of males than females reporting past-year alcohol use (81% or 11.8 million males and 73% or 10.9 million females). The rate of alcohol use among young adults aged 20 to 24 (83%) was higher than among youth aged 15 to 19 (59%) and adults aged 25 years and older (78%). The prevalence of alcohol use among age categories (i.e., youth, young adults, and adults 25 years and older) are statistically unchanged compared to 2013.

Provincial rates of alcohol use in the past year ranged from 73% in Prince Edward Island (or 88,000 Prince Edward Island residents) to 82% in Quebec (or 5.6 million Quebec residents). For all provinces, the prevalence of alcohol use remains unchanged compared to 2013.

Low-Risk Alcohol Use

Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking GuidelinesFootnote 2  (LRDG) consist of five guidelines and a series of tips. Guidelines 1 and 2, and acute and chronic effects are explained in the definitions section. People who drink within the low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines consume no more than the recommended quantity of alcohol within the number of days specified, whereas those who exceed the guidelines consume more alcohol than recommended within the stated timeframe. The basis of the LRDG is reported alcohol consumption in the 7 days prior to the survey.

Among Canadians who consumed alcohol in the past year, 20% (representing 15% of the population aged 15 years and older or 4.3 million) exceeded guideline 1 for chronic effects and 15% (representing 12% of the population aged 15 years and older or 3.3 million) exceeded guideline 2 for acute effects. A higher percentage of males than females drank in patterns that exceeded both guidelines. The chronic-risk guideline was exceeded by 22% (or 2.5 million) of male drinkers and 18% (or 1.9 million) of female drinkers.

Young adults (aged 20 to 24) had riskier patterns of alcohol consumption, compared to youth (aged 15 to 19) and adults older than 25 years. 

Twenty-eight percent (28% or 542,000) of young adult drinkers exceeded the guideline for chronic risk. In comparison, 16% (or 185,000) of youth drinkers and 19% (or 3.6 million) of adult drinkers exceeded this guideline.

The acute-risk guideline was exceeded by 24% (or 459,000) of young adult drinkers compared to 11% (or 135,000) of youth drinkers and 15% (or 2.7 million) of adult drinkers.

Reference information

Statistics Canada conducts CTADS on behalf of Health Canada. The target population for CTADS is all persons 15 years of age and older living in Canada, excluding residents of the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut and full-time residents of institutions.

To allow provincial comparisons of approximately equal reliability, the overall sample size for the survey is divided equally across all 10 Canadian provinces. A sample of about 15,000 respondents (the approximate sample size for a full year of data) consists of 5,000 individuals aged 15–24, and 10,000 individuals aged 25 and older across Canada, with a distribution of 1500 individuals per province.

CTADS is telephone based and used, for the first time in 2015, the new survey frame for household surveys. The advantage of this new frame is the inclusion of cell phones in the frame. The person response rate for the 2015 CTADS was 79.0%. For the purposes of this report only univariate and bivariate analyses were conducted, with a t-test being used to determine if two sets of data are statistically significantly different from one another. The data presented in this report have been weighted to allow the results to be generalized to the Canadian population using the Canadian Census 2011.

For more information about the survey and tobacco results, please write to the Office of Research and Surveillance, Tobacco Control Directorate, Health Canada, Address Locator 0301A, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0K9, or send an e-mail request to CTADS_Questions_ECTAD@hc-sc.gc.ca.

For more information about the survey and the drug and alcohol results, please write to the Office of Drug Science and Surveillance, Controlled Substances Directorate, Health Canada, Address Locator 0301A, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0K9, or send an e-mail request to ODSS.BSSD@hc-sc.gc.ca.

For information on the public-use microdata file, please contact Statistics Canada's Client Services, Special Surveys Division by e-mail (ssd@statcan.gc.ca), or by calling the toll-free telephone number (1-800-263-1136).

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Any cigar includes respondents who answered yes to the questions “In the past 30 days, did you smoke any little cigars or cigarillos?” and/or “In the past 30 days, did you smoke any cigars (not including little cigars or cigarillos)?” The any cigar category is not the sum of cigar and little cigar use.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines [brochure], 2013. Accessed: August 15, 2016. http://www.ccsa.ca/Resource%20Library/2012-Guidelines-For-Healthcare-Providers-to-Promote-Low-Risk-Drinking-Among-Patients-en.pdf

Return to footnote 2 referrer

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Privacy statement

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: