Smoking in Canada: What we know
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We conduct research about smoking in Canada to:
- understand Canadians' use of tobacco and nicotine products
- assess the size of the tobacco product market
- ask Canadians about their understanding and opinions on tobacco products
- inform Canadians of the health impacts of tobacco use
Canadian Tobacco and Nicotine Survey (CTNS)
This survey was previously known as the Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drugs survey (CTADS). In 2019, CTADS split into CTNS and the Canadian Alcohol and Drugs Survey.
CTNS is a survey of Canadians 15 years and older. It asks about their use of:
- Vaping products
The survey was first conducted in 2019 and has been conducted on an annual basis since then. In 2021, it showed that:
- Older Canadians are more likely to report smoking cigarettes: 11% of Canadians aged 25 and older reported current smoking compared to 3.5% of Canadians ages 15-19.
- Smoking was more prevalent among men than women: 12% of men reported that they currently smoked compared with 9% of women.
Canadian Community Health Survey
This is an annual survey of Canadians aged 12 and over. It collects information related to health status, health care utilization and health determinants for the Canadian population.
The latest smoking data from 2020 showed that:
- 13% of Canadians aged 15 and older currently smoke cigarettes.
- 16% of males and 11% of females aged 15 and older currently smoke cigarettes.
- 11% of males and 8% of females aged 15 and older smoke cigarettes daily.
Read the Canadian Community Health Survey
Statistics Canada provides a Public Use Microdata File.
Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey
This is a survey of Canadian students between grades 7 and 12 (secondary I to secondary V in Quebec). It asks about their use of:
- Vaping products
This survey is conducted every two years. The most recent prevalence rates are from the 2021-22 survey. It showed that:
- 14% of students in grades 7-12 had ever tried smoking a cigarette, even just a puff, and 2% reported smoking cigarettes in the past 30 days.
- 59% of the students thought it would be "fairly easy" or "very easy" to get a cigarette if they wanted one.
Retailer behaviour surveys
Health Canada conducts surveys to determine the willingness of retailers to sell cigarettes to youth and to gain a better understanding of product placement, accessibility and promotion at retail outlets in Canada.
For additional information on the Retailer behaviour surveys, please contact the Tobacco Control Directorate.
Public opinion research
We use public opinion research data to:
- inform decision-making concerning tobacco products
- understand Canadians' perceptions and beliefs regarding tobacco products
- test messaging to ensure information is accurately communicated to Canadians
Available public opinion research reports cover many topics, such as the effectiveness of health warnings for tobacco products labelling, opinions and perceptions of those who do and do not use tobacco and nicotine, and the testing of new messages for communications campaigns. A full list of public opinion research on tobacco can be accessed by visiting the Library and Archives Canada website.
Industry reported tobacco sales data
Health Canada receives industry-reported wholesale sales data for tobacco products under the Tobacco Reporting Regulations, Section 13 (Sales). This data has been reported to Health Canada under regulations since 2000. It shows how tobacco control efforts at all levels of government in Canada have significantly reduced tobacco sales and consumption. You can explore this rich dataset here: National and provincial/territorial tobacco sales data
Scientific research studies
Health Canada conducts scientific studies and evaluates available information and evidence on tobacco products to:
- inform and support science-based decision making
- better understand the appeal and addiction of tobacco products
- stay on top of the latest tobacco research, including comparisons of harm among various products with nicotine
Scientific research studies are based on chemical analyses of tobacco products and their emissions. These studies are carried out in accredited testing facilities. We collect information on constituents of tobacco products and their emissions, which may include harmful chemicals.
Health Canada gathers, analyzes and reviews available literature and evidence on the health impacts of smoking and tobacco use. This information is used to support program activities such as the development of health warning messages on tobacco products. Health Canada is also interested in learning more about effective smoking cessation approaches and helping people quit.
For more information
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