Statistics Canada concerned about youth vaping

Young people in Canada are more likely to have never smoked a cigarette, but the prevalence of vaping among young people is still much higher than among older people and rising, and could reintroduce the habit of smoking, according to Statistics Canada .

The popularity of cigarettes has steadily declined since the 1960s, when nearly half of the population used them, thanks to high tax rates, bans on advertising, and a decrease in the number of public places where it is authorized.

Meanwhile, in 2021, some 12% of 15-19 year olds and 17% of 20-24 year olds said they had used a vaping device — which heats a liquid that typically includes nicotine into a vapor that is inhaled. — in the past month. That compared to just 4% of adults aged 25 or over, the statistics agency said.

More than six in ten young Canadians aged 15 to 19 and more than a quarter of young adults aged 20 to 24 have never tried cigarettes.

Overall, in 2021, 10% of Canadians reported smoking cigarettes on a regular basis. For all age groups, smoking remained stable compared to the previous year.

Young people are more likely to have vaped if they have a job, drink alcohol or have friends who engage in negative behaviors, StatCan said, while a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity was a risk factor for 12 to 14 year olds. -old.

Older teens who are male, born in Canada, have lower grades, or use tobacco or cannabis were also more likely to vape, the agency said.

A third of teens who had vaped recently said they did so primarily to reduce stress, up from one in five who said the same in 2019, which is correlated with an increase in mental health issues of young people caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and disruptions related to education and workplaces.

“While vaping may be less harmful than inhaling tobacco smoke, it poses risks for nicotine addiction, other substance use, and respiratory and cardiovascular disease,” StatCan said.

“There are concerns that widespread adoption of vaping could jeopardize long-term reductions in smoking and lead to the renormalization of tobacco use.”

According to Statistics Canada, more than six in 10 Canadian teenagers and more than a quarter of young adults have never touched a cigarette, but vaping is growing in popularity among young people.

Morgan Sharp / Local Journalism Initiative / National Observer of Canada

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