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Smoking Rates in Canada on the Decline

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# Saturday, 23 August 2008
Saturday, 23 August 2008 14:14:56 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00) ( General Life )

Statistics Canada is reporting that the rate of Canadians who smoke is on the decline. The highest decrease in smokers comes from the youth population, with teenagers aged 12 to 17 declining 14% in 2000/2001 to 8% in 2005. This decline is surmised to be from the fact that more Canadian teenagers are choosing not to start smoking, with 85% of teens reporting that they have not tried cigarettes. As the majority of smokers begin initially in their teenage years, these statistics are significant. Studies have shown that it is rare for adults to begin smoking if they did not smoke in their teenage years. This is the lowest rate of youth smokers in over 40 years in Canada.

Overall, the percentage of Canadian smokers age 12 and over has decreased from 23% to 22% since 2003. Canadian smokers are also reporting smoking less than previously as well. Canadians smoked an average of 13.1 cigarettes a day in 2003; the average in 2005 went down to 12.7 per day. The amount of non-smokers who are being exposed to second hand smoke is also decreasing, except for the youth population. While statistics show that fewer young Canadians even try smoking, they are more at risk of being exposed to second hand smoke. This is usually a result of being exposed to second hand smoke either in their homes and/or cars, or in public places that teens tend to gather at.

Smoking habits are also changing in Canada. More homes are now smoke-free, thereby reducing the number of people exposed to second hand smoke. In 2003 57% of Canadian homes did not allow smoking; this percentage has gone up to 64% as of 2005. With smoking now being banned in many public places, the risk of exposure has decreased from 29% to 23%. 68% of all Canadian workplaces are now smoke-free which is reducing not only the percentage of people exposed to cigarette smoke, but is also decreasing the amount of cigarettes being smoked throughout the day. The average amount of cigarettes smoked where smoking is permitted in the home and at work is 16 per day; when smoking is permitted in the home but banned at work, the number of cigarettes per day dropped to 14. If smoking was banned in the home but allowed in the workplace an average of 11 cigarettes were smoked daily. If smoking was banned in both the home and workplace, only 9 cigarettes a day were reported.

Recent studies have shown that 23% of Canadian men smoke; this rate is slightly lower for women at 20%. 28% of all smokers in Canada are between the ages of 18 to 34. British Columbia and Ontario have the lowest population of smokers at 18 and 21%; B.C. also has the highest rate of homes which have banned smoking (77 %). The territories have the highest rate of smokers; 30% of people living in the Yukon are smokers, 36% in the Northwest Territories, and 53% in Nunavut. While Nunavut has the highest rate of smokers, it has also experienced the sharpest decline in smokers, falling 12% since 2003. As well, 93% of workplaces in Nunavut have banned smoking as opposed to only 61% of smoke-free workplaces in Alberta. Quebec has the lowest rate of smoke-free homes, with only 47% banning smoking indoors.

This decrease in smoking is good news for Canadians. Fewer Canadians are picking up the habit, and those that do still smoke are smoking less. An improvement in health status can mean a decrease in your life insurance premiums; consult with your broker about this possibility.


 

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