Tobacco Use in Canada
Patterns and Trends - 2015 Edition

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Appendix B: Youth Smoking Survey (YSS)

The Youth Smoking Survey (YSS) was implemented with the cooperation, support and funding of Health Canada, and conducted by a consortium of researchers across Canada and coordinated centrally by the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo. The YSS monitored tobacco use in school-aged children (grades 6-9/10-12), and collected data on the smoking behaviour of students, social and demographic factors, attitudes and beliefs about smoking, cigarette purchasing and other policy-relevant items, as well as experience with alcohol and drugs. The YSS used a repeated cross-sectional survey design. Seven waves of the YSS were conducted: 1994, 2002, 2004-05, 2006-07, 2008-09, 2010-11, and 2012-13.

YSS data was collected through classroom-based surveys of students in grades 6 to 9 (and grades 10-12 from 2006-07 onward; grade 5 was also included in waves prior to and including 2006-07) attending a generalizable sample of private, public, and Catholic schools. Sampling procedures varied by survey wave.
  • In 2006-07 through to 2012-13, schools were randomly sampled within each province, using a stratified single stage design. Using this sampling design, stratification was based on two classifications: 1) health region smoking rate (above or below median) or, in certain provinces depending on the cycle (noted below), the urban stratum; and, 2) type of school (elementary or secondary).

    • In 2008-09 and 2006-07 schools were sampled in all 10 provinces.
    • Participation in the 2012-13 YSS was declined by the province of Manitoba. Based on comparative analysis conducted using 2010-11 survey data, there were no statistically significant differences in national estimates for current or ever smoking with and without Manitoba.
    • Participation in the 2010-11 YSS was declined by the province of New Brunswick. Based on comparative analysis conducted using 2008-09 survey data, there were no statistically significant differences in national estimates for current or ever smoking with and without New Brunswick.
    • The urban stratum was added first in Ontario in 2008-09. In 2010-11, there were urban strata in both Ontario and Alberta. In 2012-13, there were urban strata in Ontario, Alberta and Quebec.
    • In 2010-11, stratification in Quebec was based on different classifications due to collaboration with another project. Please see the 2010-11 user guide for details.

  • In 2004-05, the sampling of schools was conducted in two stages. At stage 1, school boards were sampled within each province using a stratified sampling design. The school boards were rank ordered based on their adult smoking rates and each board was assigned to one of the two strata (low vs. high smoking rate) so that approximately half the total student enrolment in any province was assigned to each stratum. From the selected school boards, schools were then sampled. Schools were stratified into two strata, the senior stratum (senior elementary or high school grades) and the junior stratum (junior elementary grades).
  • In 2002, grades within schools were sampled. The sample design featured three levels of stratification, by province, by grade and the schools were stratified by census metropolitan area (CMA) versus non-CMA. A school may be selected more than once, for different grades.
  • The 1994 YSS had a sampling design similar to 2002, with the exception that there were two levels of stratification: province and grade.
  • In all years, the sample excluded residents of the Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest Territories, residents of institutions, residents of First Nations reserves, and those attending special schools (e.g., schools for visually-/hearing-impaired individuals) or schools located on military bases.
  • In 2004-05 through 2012-13, all students within participating schools/classrooms were invited to participate in the survey. In 1994 and 2002, one class was randomly selected in the desired grade in the selected schools and all students within each selected class were invited to participate in the survey.

Participating students completed a 30-40 minute written survey within their classroom; these surveys were scanned (in 2004-05, 2006-07, 2008-09, 2010-11 and 2012-13) or data captured (in 1994 and 2002) and cleaned to create the final data sets. In 1994, all grades 5 to 9 students responded to the same questionnaire. In 2002 and 2004-05, grade 5 and 6 students responded to a version of the questionnaire that did not include the alcohol and drug questions answered by grade 7 to 9 students. In 2006-07, grade 5 and 6 students responded to a questionnaire that did not include alcohol and drug questions, and in each class of grade 7 to 9 students (and grade 10 to 12 students), students were randomly selected to receive one of two versions of the questionnaire with alcohol and drug questions. For this reason, the YSS 2006-07 data has two survey weights (rather than one, as in other years), the use of which depends on which module(s) included the variables being analysed (this information can be found in the supplementary user guide for YSS 2006-07). From 2008-09 onward, grade 6 students responded to a version of the questionnaire that did not include the alcohol and drug questions answered by grade 7 to 9 students (and grade 10 to 12 students), but was otherwise the same.

After 2012-13, the YSS continues as the Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CSTADS).

Additional information on the YSS and CSTADS is available at:
http://uwaterloo.ca/canadian-student-tobacco-alcohol-drugs-survey/information-researchers

YSS datasets are available from the Propel Population Health Data Repository (PHDR) at: http://uwaterloo.ca/propel/resources-and-products/population-health-data-repository