Stats Canada is reporting some progress in the right direction in teenage smoking in a review from February to December 2006. Still a long way to go but these numbers and the trend lines are encouraging. Here is a summary of the findings.
Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey
February to December 2006
Smoking rates among teenagers aged 15 to 19 have declined, according to the latest results from the Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) conducted from February to December 2006.
An estimated 15% of teenagers in this age group were either daily smokers or smoked occasionally in 2006, down from 18% in 2005, the survey found. The rates for this age group were unchanged between 2003 and 2005 at 18%, after falling from 28% in 1999.
The proportion of teenagers who were daily smokers declined from 11% in 2005 to 9% in 2006.
Young women apparently accounted for most of the decline. The smoking rate for girls aged 15 to 19 fell from 18% in 2005 to 14% in 2006. Smoking prevalence among their male equivalents was 16% compared to 18% in 2005.
In the provinces as a whole, overall smoking prevalence remained constant. Estimates show that slightly fewer than 5 million people, or 19% of the population aged 15 and older, reported smoking daily or occasionally in 2006, roughly the same as in 2005.
Provincial differences in smoking prevalence also remained stable, with all provinces within 5 percentage points of the national average of 19%. The lowest rate was in British Columbia, where only 16% of the population smoked.
As well, 37% of respondents in the CTUMS reported being exposed to second-hand smoke at least once a week. Another 12% said they were exposed to second-hand smoke every day.
Respondents were asked about the most common place in which they had been exposed to second-hand smoke in the 30 days prior to the interview, excluding their own home. Just over one-half (51%) said it was at an entrance to a building, 31% cited outdoor patios of a restaurant or bar, 29% cited inside other people's homes, 25% cited inside a car or other vehicle, and 23% cited in the workplace.
THE PENDING ALBERTA TOBACCO CONTROL legislation scheduled for 3rd reading later this year will address many of these second-hand smoke concerns around entrances to buildings, outdoor restaurant and bar patios and workplaces.