Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS)

Summary of Annual Results for 2012

Introduction

The Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) was first collected in 1999 and is implemented by Statistics Canada on behalf of Health Canada. CTUMS was developed to provide Health Canada and its partners with timely, reliable and continual data on tobacco use and related issues. The survey's primary objective is to track changes in smoking status and amount smoked, especially for youth aged 15 to 24, who are most at risk for taking up smoking. CTUMS is an annual survey of approximately 20,000 Canadians aged 15 years and older, excluding residents of the three territories and full-time residents of institutions.

This will be the final CTUMS data collection as Health Canada is moving forward in 2013 with a new biennial survey merging tobacco, alcohol and drug content. The survey is called the Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CTADS) and is being conducted by Statistics Canada (SC).

The CTUMS 2012 supplementary tables, historical tables (1999-2012) and definitions are provided in separate documents.

Smoking prevalence in Canada has declined since it was first measured. However, as smoking prevalence reaches lower levels, it becomes more and more difficult to show year to year statistically significant differences. In the context of the future of tobacco control in Canada, the focus of this year's CTUMS release is a comparison of the 2012 rates to those of 2001 when the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy (FTCS) was launched.

All reported increases, decreases, and "differences" in the text below are statistically significant changes. The words "statistically significant" will not be used so as to allow for more readable text. "Unchanged" refers to differences that are not statistically significant.

Overview

In 2001, when the FTCS was launched, the prevalence of smoking among the Canadian population 15 years and older was 25%Footnote 1 (about 6.1 million smokers). In 2012, the annual results of the Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS), reveal that the smoking prevalence has decreased to 16% (about 4.6 million smokers), the lowest national smoking rate ever recorded. In 2012, 12% reported smoking daily, while 4% reported smoking occasionally. More males (18%) reported smoking than females (14%). Daily smokers smoked an average of 15.0 cigarettes per day (cpd), lower than the average of 16.2 cpd reported in 2001.

Youth Smoking (Aged 15-19 Years)

In 2012, current smoking among youth aged 15 to 19 years was 11% (approximately 233,000 teens). While it is unchanged from the 12% reported in 2011, it is the lowest rate of current smoking recorded for this age group since Health Canada first reported smoking prevalence and it is lower than the rate reported in 2001 (22%). Seven percent (7%) of youth reported smoking daily, and consumed an average of 11.1 cigarettes per day, while 4% of youth reported smoking occasionally. A higher percentage of male than female youths reported currently smoking (12% and 9%, respectively).

In 2012, the smoking rate among youth aged 15 to 17 years was 7% (representing about 93,000 youth), the lowest ever recorded, but unchanged from 2011 (8%). The 2012 current smoking rate was 8% for males and 6% for females. Four percent (4%) of youth aged 15 to 17 smoked daily, consuming an average of 8.8 cigarettes per day.

Sixteen percent (16%) of older youth aged 18 to 19 years (representing about 140,000 youth) were current smokers in 2012 unchanged from 2011 (18%), but lower than in 2001 (29%). Eleven percent (11%) smoked daily and 6% smoked occasionallyFootnote 2. Daily smokers in this age group consumed an average of 12.3 cigarettes per day. There was a higher percentage of male (19%) than female (13%) youth aged 18-19 years who were current smokers.

Young Adult Smoking (Aged 20-24 Years)

The prevalence of smoking among young adults aged 20 to 24 years was 20% (about 488,000 young adults) in 2012, unchanged from the 21% reported in 2011, but lower compared to 2001 (32%). In 2012, the current smoking rate for young adult males was 23%, higher than the rate for females of 17%.

The rate of daily smoking among young adults in 2012 (13%) is unchanged from that in 2011 (14%), but lower than the rate in 2001 (24%). There was no difference in the rate of daily smoking between males (14%) and females (11%). Young adults who reported smoking daily consumed an average of 12.7 cigarettes per day.

Adult Smoking (Aged 25 Years and Older)

Sixteen percent (16%) of Canadians aged 25 years and older were current smokers (about 3.9 million) in 2012, unchanged from 2011 (17%), but lower than the rate in 2001 (21%). The rate of daily smoking was 12%, a decrease from the rate in 2001 (18%). In this age group, a higher percentage of males than females were current smokers (19% of males compared with 14% of females), and daily smokers (14% of males compared with 11% of females). Males who smoked daily consumed an average of 17.4 cigarettes per day, a higher number than for females (12.9).

Consumption of Cigarettes

Canadian daily smokers aged 15 years and older consumed an average of 15.0 cigarettes per day in 2012, lower than in 2001 (16.2). In 2012, male daily smokers consumed more cigarettes per day (an average of 16.8) than female daily smokers (an average of 12.7).

Provinces

Provincial current smoking rates for Canadians aged 15 and older ranged from a low of 13% in British Columbia to a high of 20% in Newfoundland/Labrador. Cigarette consumption ranged from a low of 12.9 cigarettes per day in British Columbia to a high of 15.8 in Ontario.

Cigars: Regular and Little/Cigarillos

Approximately, 4% (about 1.2 million) of all Canadians aged 15 and older, 6% (about 129,000) of youths aged 15 to 19, and 9% (about 212,000) of young adults aged 20 to 24 reported smoking any type of cigar in the past 30 days in 2012. These rates are unchanged from 2011.

Six percent (6% or about 69,000) of all cigar smokers were under the legal age to purchase tobacco in their province of residence, unchanged from the 8% reported in 2011Footnote 3.

Approximately 3% (about 895,000) of Canadians aged 15 years and older reported smoking little cigars or cigarillos in the past 30 days, unchanged from 2011 (3%), but lower than in 2007 (4%). Among Canadian youth aged 15 to 19, 5% (about 110,000 youth) reported smoking a little cigar or cigarillo in the past 30 days, unchanged from 2011 (5%), but lower than 2007 (11%). Eight percent (8% or about 182,000) of young adults aged 20 to 24 reported smoking a little cigar or cigarillo in the past 30 days, unchanged from the 7% reported in 2011, but lower than 2007 (10%).

Reducing the appeal of little cigars to youth is an important goal of the Tobacco Act as amended in 2009 by the Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act. These amendments came into force in 2010. While it may not be possible to fully evaluate the impact of these amendments on youth smoking of little cigars based on the CTUMS results, it is worth noting that the percentage of youth aged 15 to 19 who reported smoking little cigars in the past 30 days has declined to 5% in 2011 and 2012, from 6% in 2010 and 8% in 2009. Of youth aged 15 to 19 who smoked little cigars/cigarillos, 61% (about 65,000 youth) smoked flavoured little cigars/cigarillos, while 24% (about 25,000) of youth smoked both flavoured and unflavoured little cigars/cigarillos. These results are not different from 2011, 2010, nor from 2009, the first year these questions were asked.

Water-pipe Tobacco

Before CTUMS 2011, "ever tried a water-pipe" had been asked only once in 2006. In 2012, 10% or about 2.8 million Canadians aged 15 years and older reported having ever tried a water-pipe, higher than in 2011 (8%) and in 2006 (4%). Thirteen percent (13% or about 282,000) of Canadian youth aged 15 to 19 and 28% (about 662,000) of young adults aged 20 to 24 reported having ever tried a water-pipe, unchanged from 2011 (12% for youth and 24% for young adults in 2011), but higher than in 2006 (6% for youth and 11% for young adults aged 20-24).

In 2012, under 1% of Canadians 15 years and older (about 251,000), 3% (about 61,000) of youth aged 15-19, and 4% (about 104,000) of young adults aged 20-24 reported smoking a water-pipe in the past 30 days. These results were the same as in 2011, the first time past 30 day use of a water pipe was asked.

When Canadians who reported using a water-pipe during the past 30-days were asked about their beliefs regarding the risks and benefits associated with smoking a water-pipe compared to cigarettes, 40% thought that smoking tobacco in a water-pipe was more harmful, 32% thought it was neither more harmful or less harmful and 27% thought it was less harmful.

Smokeless Tobacco

In 2012, 8% of Canadians 15 years and older reported having ever tried smokeless tobacco products. Five percent (5%) of youth or about 117,000 teens aged 15 to 19 and 12% of young adults (about 285,000) aged 20 to 24 reported having ever tried smokeless tobacco. Ever use of smokeless tobacco among adults aged 15 years and older, youth aged 15 to 19 and young adults aged 15 to 24 is unchanged from 2011. The prevalence of smokeless tobacco use within the past 30 days was under 1% for Canadians aged 15 years and older, 1% for youth aged 15 to 19 and 2% for young adults aged 20 to 24. These results for past-30-day use are unchanged from 2011.

Cigarette Sources

According to CTUMS 2012, most current smokers usually bought their cigarettes from a small grocery or corner store (52% in 2012, unchanged from 54% in 2011) and at gas stations (20% in 2012, same as the 20% reported in 2011). First Nations Reserves were reported as the usual cigarette source for 5% of smokers, unchanged from 2011 (4%).

Forty-four percent (44%) of youth smokers aged 15 to 19 obtained their cigarettes from a small grocery store, while 18% got them from a gas station. Twenty-three percent (23%) of youths obtained their cigarettes from social sources, unchanged from 2011 (28%).

Among youth who were too young to purchase cigarettes legally in their province of residence, 63% got their cigarettes from a regular retail source in 2012, unchanged from the 56% reported in 2011. There was no difference in the percentage of underage youth who obtained their cigarettes from social sources (37% in 2012 compared with 44% in 2011).

Cheaper Cigarettes

CTUMS includes questions about efforts people have made in the past 6 months to purchase cigarettes at a cheaper cost. In 2011, these questions were restructured and descriptions were added for each cigarette source. The 2011 and 2012 rates should therefore not be compared to previous years. Forty-eight percent (48% or about 1.8 million) of current smokers aged 15 and older purchased discount-brand cigarettes at retail, 13% (about 590,000 Canadians) purchased cigarettes from a First Nations Reserve and 1% (about 58,000) reported they purchased cigarettes that may have been smuggled. Some smokers reported more than one source, so these numbers should not be added.

The percentage of smokers who reported purchasing cigarettes on a First Nations Reserve was 13%, unchanged from 2011 (11%).The percentage of smokers who reported purchasing cigarettes that may have been smuggled was 1% in 2012, lower than the 3% reported in 2011.

Among youth smokers aged 15 to 19, 44% (about 64,000 youth) purchased discount-brand cigarettes in the past six months and 14% (about 32,000) purchased cigarettes from a First Nations Reserve. Fifty-two percent (52% or about 196,000) of young adult smokers aged 20 to 24, bought discount-brand cigarettes and 10% (about 48,000) purchased cigarettes from First Nations Reserves.

Reference Information

CTUMS 2012 annual collected data from 19,286 respondents from February to December 2012. The overall margin of error for the smoking rate for Canada is +/- 1.1%. We expect the true smoking prevalence for this population to be between 15.0% and 17.3%, 19 times out of 20.

For more information about the survey and/or its results, please contact Health Canada by e-mail (CTUMS-ESUTC@hc-sc.gc.ca), or write to CTUMS, Office of Research and Surveillance, Controlled Substances and Tobacco Directorate, Health Canada, 150 Tunney's Pasture Driveway, Address Locator 0301A, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0K9.

For information on the public-use microdata file, please contact Statistics Canada's Client Services, Special Surveys Division (1-800-461-9050; 613-951-3321; facsimile: 613-951-4527; ssd@statcan.gc.ca).

Footnotes

Footnote 1

When the FTCS was launched, the most recent data available was CTUMS 1999, which was used as the program baseline.

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Footnote 2

Percentages of daily and occasional adult smokers aged 18-19 years do not sum to the percentage of current smokers due to rounding.

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Footnote 3

CTUMS does not use a standardised definition of little cigars, cigarillos or regular cigars and relies on respondents to determine in which category their cigars belong. In addition, CTUMS does not collect information regarding either purchase patterns or smoking volume or frequency of these products. Estimation of how many cigars are either purchased or consumed on a daily basis is not advised, nor possible given data limitations.

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