Pubdate: Fri, 01 Jun 2012
Source: Windsor Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2012 The Windsor Star
Author: Helen Branswell


Smoking, drinking are also down, Health Canada finds

TORONTO - Are teens becoming more abstemious? A new survey shows
dropping rates of drinking, drug use and smoking among Canadian teens.

For instance, the percentage of teens who have ever tried smoking
cigarettes dropped to 15.5 in 2010-11, the lowest rate since
monitoring of teen smoking began.

Some of the declines are small, but the report - by researchers at the
University of Waterloo's Propel Centre - says they are statistically

The figures are contained in the Youth Smoking Survey, funded by
Health Canada and released every two years.

This cycle is based on interviews with 50,949 students in grades 6
through 12 in all provinces but New Brunswick, which didn't
participate this time around.

Although the figures on smoking are low and dropping, the Canadian
Cancer Society still saw signs for concern.

The organization used the release to call for a ban on all flavoured
tobacco products, in a bid to discourage smoking of little cigars and
hookahs - also known as shisha.

"Knowing fewer young people are smoking cigarillos is welcome and
important," Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst for the cancer
society, said in a statement.

But he said some tobacco companies continue to sell cigarillos in
flavours such as chocolate, peach and cherry, which are attractive to

"As well, we are now faced with the increasing popularity of water
pipe smoking, a product that may be a gateway to tobacco addiction,"
he said.

The survey found six per cent of youth in grades 6 to 12 reported ever
trying a water pipe to smoke tobacco and two per cent reported such
use during the 30 days prior to the survey.

The highest prevalence of past-30 day water-pipe use for smoking
tobacco was among current smokers, with 20 per cent saying they'd
smoked hookahs during that period.

The rate of current smokers in grades 6 to 9 dropped to two per cent
in 2010-11, from three per cent in 200809. Of students in Grades 10
through 12, 10 per cent said they were current smokers, down from 13
per cent two years earlier.

Drug use also appeared down. Only five per cent of the survey
participants admitted to using MDMA (ecstasy) over the previous 12
months, down from six per cent in the past survey.

Reported use of hallucinogens and salvia also dropped to four per cent
and three per cent respectively, compared with seven per cent and five
per cent in the previous survey.

Reported cannabis use also dropped, with 21 per cent of students in
grades 7 to 12 saying they used the drug over the past 12 months
compared with 27 per cent in the 2008-09 survey.

For alcohol, 45 per cent of students in grades 7 through 12 said they
drank alcohol in the previous 12 months, compared with 53 per cent in
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