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Canadians drinking, smoking pot more

June 14, 2011 at 10:13 PM   |   Comments

OTTAWA, June 14 (UPI) -- More Canadians are drinking daily, though fewer are binge drinkers, and more are smoking marijuana, while fewer are puffing cigarettes, a survey indicates.

A survey of Ontario adults by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health using data from 2009 indicates adults who say they drink daily increased from 5.3 percent in 2002 to more than 9 percent in 2009, and the average number of drinks consumed weekly among drinkers increased from 3 drinks to 4.6 drinks.

However, there has been a steep decline in binge drinking from 12.6 percent in 2006 to 7.1 percent in 2009.

Driving after drinking posted a significant increase among those age 18-29 from 7.7 percent in 2005 to 12.8 percent in 2009, but for all age groups, driving within an hour of consuming two or more drinks dropped from 13.1 percent in 1996 to 6.9 percent in 2009.

Dr. Robert Mann, senior scientist at CAMB, says those who say they smoke marijuana rose from 8.7 percent in 1996 to 13.3 percent in 2009, but for those age 18-29 it rose from 18.3 percent to 35.8 percent.

Adults in Ontario, who report smoking cigarettes declined from 19.7 percent in 2008 to 18.6 percent in 2009.

In addition, 14.7 percent of adults -- about 1.4 million people -- report symptoms of elevated psychological distress and almost 6 percent report their overall mental health was poor, the survey says.

No margin of error was provided.

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