Canadian youth use of combustible cigarettes has declined dramatically, while vaping increased significantly among Canadian youth over a six-year period, cigarette use remained, a University of Waterloo study says.
Vaping increased over the six years being examined by the researchers. Notably, they said, the increase started before nicotine vapes were legally available in Canada in 2018, according to a story in the Waterloo Chronicle.
The popularity of vaping in Peterborough has health officials worried, said Adam Cole, a public health researcher who led the study while at the University of Waterloo. They also found smoking rates were stable in the early years of the study but started to drop off in the most recent years, “which suggests that rather than smoking cigarettes, students are sticking with vaping.”
The researchers studied data from more than 30,000 high-school youth in grades 9 to 12 in more than 60 schools in Ontario between 2013 and 2019. The data also included a smaller sample from Alberta (nine schools), and large samples from British Columbia and Quebec, but only over three years because data was not available before 2016.
The data came from the COMPASS study, a multi-year survey of Canadian youth designed to evaluate the impact of changes to programs and policies on youth behaviour over time. It “shares the same story as other recent studies, such as in the U.S. and David Hammond’s study of Canadian youth, but with a larger sample and a longer time period,” said Cole.
Youth vaping has dropped more than 300 percent in the U.S., according to the most recent data. The overall use of e-cigarettes by youth dropped from 28 percent to 20 percent among high schoolers, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS), which show 1.8 million fewer U.S. youth are currently using e-cigarettes compared to 2019.