In Canada, about 11 percent of teens smoke

Jan. 27, 2014 at 11:15 PM
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WATERLOO, Ontario, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Teenagers in Canada have lower smoking rates than virtually all other adults, University of Waterloo researchers say.

Lead author Jessica Reid, a project manager at the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo, said about 11 percent of youth age 15-19 reported smoking in 2012.

Smoking prevalence was highest at 22 percent among young adults age 25-34 -- double the smoking rate for teens.

The smoking rate for young adults age 20-24 was also high at 20 percent, Reid said.

"While smoking prevalence among Canadian teenagers was lower than ever in 2012, the high rates among young adults are cause for concern. We need to expand the focus of smoking prevention efforts beyond just teens," Reid said in a statement.

The study also found after years of steadily declining, rates of tobacco use in Canada stalled. The report found 16.1 percent, or 4.6 million Canadians, were current smokers in 2012 -- not a significant change from 2011.

"Currently the highest prevalence is among a demographic who ostensibly grew up knowing the dangers of smoking," said report co-author David Hammond, an associate professor in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences. "Social norms need to change or else we will face a huge burden of illness in the future."

Each day, 100 Canadians die from a smoking-related illness. Half of all long-term smokers will die or be disabled from a tobacco-related disease, the report said.

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