Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS): 2011 summary
Summary of Annual Results for 2011
Smoking prevalence in Canada has declined since it was first measured. However, as smoking prevalence reaches lower levels, it becomes more and more difficult to show year‑to‑year statistically significant differences. In the context of the future of tobacco control in Canada, the focus of this year's CTUMS release is a comparison of the 2011 rates to those of 2001 when the FTCS was launched.
Youth Smoking (Aged 15-19 Years)
In 2011, current smoking among youth aged 15 to 19 years was 12% (approximately 256,000 teens). While it is unchanged from the 12% reported in 2010, it is the lowest rate of current smoking recorded for this age group since Health Canada first reported smoking prevalence and it is significantly different than the rate reported in 2001 (22%). Six percent (6%) of youth reported smoking daily, and consumed an average of 11.7 cigarettes per day, while 6% of youth reported smoking occasionally. There was no difference in the percentage of male (13%) and female (11%) youth who were current smokers.
In 2011, the smoking rate among youth aged 15 to 17 years was 8% (representing about 102,000 youth), the lowest ever recorded, but statistically unchanged from 2010. The 2011 current smoking rate was 8% for males and 7% for females. Four percent (4%) of youth aged 15 to 17 smoked daily, consuming an average of 11.0 cigarettes per day.
Eighteen percent (18%) of older youth aged 18 to 19 years (representing about 155,000 youth) were current smokers in 2011 unchanged from 2010 (18%) but statistically significantly lower than in 2001 (29%), with 9% smoking daily and 9% smoking occasionally. Daily smokers in this age group consumed an average of 12.2 cigarettes per day.
Young Adult Smoking (Aged 20-24 Years)
The prevalence of smoking among young adults aged 20 to 24 years was 21% (about 509,000 young adults) in 2011, statistically unchanged from the 22% reported in 2010 but statistically significantly lower compared to 2001 (32%). In 2011, the current smoking rate for young adult males was 26%, statistically significantly different from the rate for females of 17%.
The rate of daily smoking among young adults in 2011 (14%) is statistically unchanged from that in 2010 (15%), but is significantly lower than the rate in 2001 (24%). The difference in the rate of daily smoking among males (16%) and females (11%) was statistically significant. Young adults who reported smoking daily consumed an average of 11.9 cigarettes per day.
Adult Smoking (Aged 25 Years and Older)
Seventeen percent (17%) of Canadians aged 25 years and older were current smokers (about 4.1 million) in 2011, unchanged from 2010, but statistically significantly lower than the rate in 2001 (21%). The rate of daily smoking was 14%, a statistically significant decrease from the rate in 2001 (18%). In this age group, a higher percentage of males than females were current smokers (20% of males compared with 15% of females), and daily smokers (16% of males compared with 13% of females). Males who smoked daily consumed an average of 15.5 cigarettes per day, a significantly higher number than for females (13.6).
Consumption of Cigarettes
Canadian daily smokers aged 15 years and older consumed an average of 14.4 cigarettes per day in 2011, statistically lower than in 2001 (16.2). In 2011, male daily smokers consumed more cigarettes per day (an average of 15.2) than female daily smokers (an average of 13.2).
Provincial current smoking rates for Canadians aged 15 and older ranged from a low of 14% in British Columbia to a high of 20% in Quebec. Cigarette consumption ranged from a low of 13.6 cigarettes per day in Ontario to a high of 16.3 in New Brunswick.
Cigars: Regular and Little/Cigarillos
Approximately, 3% (about 968,000) of all Canadians aged 15 and older, 6% (about 136,000) of youths aged 15 to 19, and 8% (about 201,000) of young adults aged 20 to 24 reported smoking any type of cigar in the past 30 days in 2011. These rates are statistically unchanged from 2010.
Approximately, 3% (about 745,000) of Canadians aged 15 years and older reported smoking little cigars or cigarillos in the past 30 days, unchanged from 2010 (3%) and 2007 (4%) results. Among Canadian youth aged 15 to 19, 5% (about 111,000 youth) reported smoking a little cigar or cigarillo in the past 30 days, statistically unchanged from 2010 (6%), but statistically significantly lower than 2007 (11%). Seven percent (7% or about 163,000) of young adults aged 20 to 24 reported smoking a little cigar or cigarillo in the past 30 days, statistically unchanged from the 9% reported in 2010, but statistically significantly lower than 2007 (10%).
Reducing the appeal of little cigars to youth is an important goal of the Tobacco Act as amended in 2009 as part of the Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act. These amendments came into force in 2010. While it may be too early to fully evaluate the impact of these amendments on youth smoking of little cigars based on the CTUMS 2011 result, it is worth noting that the number of youth aged 15 to 19 who reported smoking little cigars in the past 30 days has declined to 5% from 6% in 2010 and 8% in 2009. Of youth aged 15 to 19 who smoked little cigars/cigarillos, 65% (about 72,000 youth) smoked flavoured little cigars/cigarillos, while 19% (about 21,000) of youth smoked both flavoured and unflavoured little cigars/cigarillos. These results are not statistically significantly different from 2010, nor from 2009, the first year these questions were asked.
Before CTUMS 2011, "ever tried a water-pipe" had been asked only once in 2006. In 2011, 8% or about 2.3 million Canadians aged 15 years and older reported having ever tried a water-pipe, a significant increase from the 4% reported in 2006. Twelve percent (12% or about 267,000) of Canadian youth aged 15 to 19 and 24% (about 574,000) of young adults aged 20 to 24 reported having ever tried a water-pipe, a rate significantly higher than that reported in 2006 (6% for youth and 11% for young adults aged 20-24).
In 2011, past 30 day use of a water pipe was asked of respondents for the first time. Under 1% of Canadians 15 years and older (about 227,000), 3% (about 59,000) of youth aged 15-19, and 4% (about 81,000) of young adults aged 20-24 reported smoking a water-pipe in the past 30 days.
When respondents who reported using a water-pipe during the past 30-days were asked about their beliefs regarding the risks and benefits associated with smoking a water-pipe compared to cigarettes, 39% of respondents thought that smoking tobacco in a water-pipe was more harmful, 33% thought it was neither more harmful or less harmful and 28% thought it was less harmful.
Unchanged from CTUMS 2010 results, 8% of Canadians 15 years and older reported having ever tried smokeless tobacco products in 2011. Five percent (5%) of youth or about 112,000 teens aged 15 to 19 and 11% of young adults (about 268,000) aged 20 to 24 reported ever tried smokeless tobacco. The prevalence of smokeless tobacco use within the past 30 days was under 1% for Canadians aged 15 years and older and 1% for both youth aged 15 to 19 and for young adults aged 20 to 24.
According to CTUMS 2011, most current smokers usually bought their cigarettes from a small grocery or corner store (54% in 2011, statistically unchanged from 56% in 2010) and at gas stations (20% in 2011, a statistically significant increase from the 16% reported in 2010). First Nations Reserves were reported as the usual cigarette source for 4% of smokers, unchanged from 2010 (4%).
Fifty-two percent (52%) of youth smokers aged 15 to 19 obtained their cigarettes from a small grocery store, while 12% got them from a gas station. Twenty-eight percent (28%) of youths obtained their cigarettes from social sources, statistically unchanged from 2010 (23%).
Among youth who were too young to purchase cigarettes legally in their province of residence, 56% got their cigarettes from a regular retail source in 2011, statistically unchanged from the 60% reported in 2010. There was no statistically significant difference in the percentage of underage youth who obtained their cigarettes from social sources (44% in 2011 compared with 40% in 2010).
CTUMS includes questions about efforts people have made in the past 6 months to purchase cigarettes at a cheaper cost. In 2011, these questions were restructured and descriptions were added for each cigarette source. The 2011 rates should not be compared to previous years. Fifty-four percent (54% or about 2.2 million) of current smokers aged 15 and older purchased discount-brand cigarettes at retail, 11% (about 549,000 Canadians) purchased cigarettes from a First Nations Reserve and 3% (about 158,000) reported they purchased cigarettes that may have been smuggled. Some smokers reported more than one source, however, these numbers should not be added.
The percentage of smokers who reported purchasing cigarettes on a First Nations Reserve has declined over the past 4 years from 20% in 2007, 16% in 2008-2009, 14% in 2010, to 11% in 2011. The percentage of smokers who reported purchasing cigarettes that may have been smuggled has remained stable at 3% in 2011, 1% in 2010, and from 3% and 4% between 2007 and 2009.
Among youth smokers aged 15 to 19, 58% (about 94,000 youth) purchased discount-brand cigarettes in the past six months and 12% (about 31,000) purchased cigarettes from a First Nations Reserve. Fifty-one percent (51% or about 220,000) of young adult smokers aged 20 to 24, bought discount-brand cigarettes and 11% (about 55,000) purchased cigarettes from First Nations Reserves.
CTUMS was developed to provide Health Canada and its partners with timely, reliable and continual data on tobacco use and related issues. The survey's primary objective is to track changes in smoking status and amount smoked, especially for 15- to 24-year-olds, the group most at risk for taking up smoking. CTUMS 2011 annual collected data from 20,703 respondents from February to December 2011. The overall margin of error for the smoking rate for Canada is +/- 1.1%. We expect the true smoking prevalence for this population to be between 16.2% and 18.4%, 19 times out of 20.
Note that when comparing results across different data releases of CTUMS, Health Canada advises that it is more accurate and reliable to compare results from one wave with those of other waves and to compare annual results with other annual results.
For more information about the survey and/or its results, please contact Health Canada by e-mail (email@example.com), toll-free telephone number (1-866-318-1116), facsimile (613‑954-2377) or visit www.gosmokefree.gc.ca.
For information on the public-use microdata file, please contact Statistics Canada's Client Services, Special Surveys Division (1‑800-461-9050; 613-951-3321; facsimile: 613-951-4527; firstname.lastname@example.org).
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