Studies reveal increased smoking among students in Canada

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 27 November 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1391
  1. David Spurgeon
  1. Quebec

    Smoking among school students in both Ontario and Quebec continues to increase, according to two new studies.

    The first study, conducted by Quebec's statistics institute for the health ministry, showed that the number of students who smoked tripled between the first year they attended secondary school and the year they graduated.

    Almost a fifth of Quebec secondary school students were confirmed smokers, and more than 10% experimented with the habit. More girls (23%) than boys (17%) smoked.

    The study, conducted in 1998 among more than 4200 students in 128 schools, also showed that the influence of family and friends was important. The proportion of confirmed smokers among students with at least one parent who smoked was 24% compared with only 17% among students with non-smoking parents. And the likelihood of students whose brothers or sisters smoked becoming smokers was increased two and a half times.

    In Ontario, a report from the University of Toronto's Ontario Tobacco Research Unit showed that the rate of smoking among students in grades 7, 9, 11 and 13 rose from 22% in 1991 to 28% this year, after a decline between 1981 and 1991. At the same time, smoking decreased among adults.

    Cigarettes had become much more accessible to minors, the study warned.

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