New Research shows sustained drop in smoking rate, but opioid misuse continues among youth

Government survey on tobacco, alcohol and drug use among students released today

OTTAWA, Sept. 14, 2016 /CNW/ - Healthy children and youth are the key to a healthy future, and research and data are critical to informing the development of policies that can improve Canada's health.

Today, the Government of Canada published the results of the 2014-15 Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drugs Survey (CSTADS), which demonstrate continued progress in lowering youth smoking rates, while also highlighting the persistent use of flavoured tobacco, including menthol. The study also highlights evidence on the ongoing misuse of psychoactive pharmaceutical products among students.

The CSTADS, previously called the Youth Smoking Survey, is a national survey of tobacco, alcohol and drug use among Canadian students in grades 6 to 12. More than 42,000 students responded to the survey, conducted by the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo on behalf of Health Canada. Only students in grades 7 to 12 were asked questions about drugs and alcohol.

Among the various findings, CSTADS reported a decline in both the number of students who had ever tried smoking a cigarette and who are current smokers. Alcohol remained the most frequently used substance by Canadian students, followed by cannabis, synthetic cannabinoids, and psychoactive pharmaceutical products, including prescription pain relievers, taken to get high.

The survey also includes the first national student data on e-cigarette use, which will add to the growing body of knowledge that will inform next steps by Health Canada in regulating this product.

Quick Facts

  • CSTADS reported that the current cigarette smoking prevalence among students in grades 6-12 in the 2014-15 school year was 3%, down from 4% in 2012-13.
  • Based on the CSTADS 2014-15 results, 7% of students had used a flavoured tobacco product in the 30 days preceding the survey, and 3% had used menthol cigarettes, compared to 8% and 3% in 2012-13, respectively.
  • In 2014-15, 17% of students in grades 7-12 reported using cannabis, and 58% thought that smoking cannabis on a regular basis put people at "great risk" of harm.
  • Three per cent of students reported using prescription painkillers to get high in the past year. Measured separately for the first time, reported prevalence of misuse of oxycodone was 1% and that of fentanyl was 0.4%.
  • Rates of tobacco use are generally higher among male students, and male students report first trying alcohol and cannabis at a slightly younger age than females.

"I am encouraged to see that smoking and drug use by youth appear to be declining, which is a testament to the effectiveness of our collective efforts in public health and education. However, these results also indicate the need for continued efforts in these areas, including on opioid misuse and flavoured tobacco, two areas where our government is taking action."
Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

Associated Links
Summary of Results - Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey
University of Waterloo – Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey
Propel Centre for Population Health Impact

Health Canada news releases are available on the Internet at:


SOURCE Health Canada

For further information: Andrew MacKendrick, Office of Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, 613-957-0200; Media Relations, Health Canada, 613-957-2983; Public Inquiries: 613-957-2991, 1-866 225-0709

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890