Fewer Young Canadians Smoking

A Statistics Canada survey finds that fewer Canadian youth ages 10 to 14 are smoking, the Canadian Press reported June 14.

According to the data, 6.2 percent of Canadian children in grades 5 to 9 said they smoked in 2002, a drop from the 13.6 percent who said they smoked in 1994.

The study also found that youth smoking is most prevalent in Quebec, with 55 percent of the children who said they smoked in 2002 coming from the province. “Quebec traditionally has higher smoking rates, they traditionally have been more tolerant towards smoking,” said Dr. Murray Kaiserman, director of the office of research, surveillance, and evaluation in Health Canada’s tobacco-control program.

Newfoundland and Labrador also have a high number of young smokers. However, the survey found the smoking rate on the decline overall even in these hot spots.

Kaiserman said the high cost of cigarettes, along with smoking becoming less socially acceptable, can be credited for the decline in youth smoking.

The survey results were based on responses from questionnaires completed by 19,000 children in 955 classes in randomly selected schools across Canada.