After decades of decline; tobacco once again butting into young lives

Ottawa, ON –The Canadian Lung Association is very concerned by the findings in the new study conducted by Dr. David Hammond from the University of Waterloo, published in the British Medical Journal.  The new study shows an alarming increase in the smoking and vaping rates among youth, signalling a clear need for immediate corrective action.

“This is clear evidence that the progress made in reducing youth smoking rates has stalled. These findings need to be a wake-up call for all of us,” says Terry Dean, president and CEO, The Canadian Lung Association. “This is unacceptable and we must truly light a fire under our collective action to reverse this trend. We cannot allow decades of public education on the harms of tobacco to go to waste.”

The study shows that vaping rates among Canadian youth (age 16-19) have increased from 8.4 per cent to 14.6 per cent from 2017 to 2018, representing a 74 per cent increase, while smoking rates in the same age group and years have increased from 10.7 per cent to 15.5 per cent, representing 45 per cent jump. The trend is reflective of the re-popularization of smoking behaviour by e-cigarettes and other vapour devices.

The inviting design and flavours of e-cigarettes have re-introduced nicotine among Canadian youth, with limited regulations and public education efforts to assuage the epidemic. The current trend threatens to create a new generation of Canadian youth who are addicted to nicotine.

Immediate action is needed from all levels of the government to address youth vaping. The measures that must be addressed include a complete ban of advertisement and promotion of e-cigarettes, restrictions on flavours and increasing the minimum age to buy both tobacco and e-cigarettes to 21 years. 

The Canadian Lung Association recently collaborated on a Tobacco Endgame Report that specified which policy measures must be acted on in order to meet the goal of lowering smoking rates to less than 5 per cent by 2035.  Members of the Tobacco Endgame Cabinet, led by The Canadian Lung Association released the report on World No Tobacco Day (May 31). According to it, the current measures, slow action on some policies and complete inactivity on others will not lead to that goal.

“Current measures are not working. We need aggressive action to deal with both youth smoking and vaping.”

For more information about Tobacco Endgame, visit lung.ca/tobacco-endgame .

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Page Last Updated: 20/06/2019