Tobacco Use in Canada
Patterns and Trends - 2014 Edition


Grades 6-9
| Age 15-19

Previous research indicates that most smokers begin smoking by age 19 (x). Accordingly, preventing smoking initiation is the target of many youth tobacco interventions, and youth initiation is monitored by Canada’s national tobacco surveys.

Ever Smoking - Grades 6-9

In 2010-11, the majority (84.5%) of students in grades 6-9 surveyed had never tried smoking cigarettes, ranging from 94.0% in grade 6 to 73.3% in grade 9. However, 15.5% of students overall had tried smoking. Figure 7.1 (below) provides a breakdown of the smoking status of these students.


In 2010-11, a higher percentage(57) of male students (16.6%) had tried smoking cigarettes, compared to females (14.3%) in grades 6-9.

The overall percentage of students in grades 6-9 who had ever tried smoking dropped drastically between 1994 and the 2000s, and then remained fairly stable before again dropping significantly between 2008-09 and 2010-11 (58) (Figure 7.2). The percentage of students who had tried smoking a cigarette increased with grade level: in 2010-11, 6% of students in grade 6 had tried smoking, compared to 27% of grade 9 students.


The percentage of students in grades 6-9 who had ever tried smoking a cigarette varied significantly by province (59) (Figure 7.3). For example, just 8.7% of Ontario youth had tried smoking, while nearly triple that (24.4%) in Quebec had tried.

Note that there are no provincial estimates for New Brunswick for the 2010-11 YSS, as the province declined participation.