The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal

Recent Stats Canada survey suggests unchanged numbers among smokers

smokingThe most recent survey released by Stats Canada suggests that from 2009 to 2010, the number of smokers in Canada has either increased or remained unchanged.

According to the survey, the number of Canadian male smokers increased from 22.6 per cent in 2009 to 24.2 per cent in 2010, while the number of female smokers was unchanged.

smokingAccording to Health Canada, every 11 minutes a Canadian dies from tobacco use.

Photo by: Gina Iaquinta

But perhaps the most disturbing result is an indicated increase in teen smokers — around 10,000 more young people lighting up than before.

Dr. Janne Holmgren, has conducted four years of research on smoking and said she believes the number of youth lighting up can be connected to the increase of flavored cigarettes or cigarillos being sold.

Bylaws not necessarily helping Canadians to butt-out

It's no secret that smoking cigarettes is unhealthy and has in several cases led to disease and death.

Several smoking bylaws exist, like the requirement that cigarette packages carry health warning labels and graphic images covering half the cigarette package.

Public smoking is restricted and stipulation has been given on cigarette companies' rights to advertising and many smoking restrictions have been implemented in Canada within the last century.

So why aren't people 'butting out'?

According to the 2010 Surgeon Generals Report - How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking – Attributable Disease, "the design and contents of tobacco products make them more attractive and addictive than ever before."

 The report also states that "the overall health of the public could be harmed if the introduction of novel tobacco products encourages tobacco use among people who would otherwise be unlikely to use a tobacco product or delays cessation among persons who would otherwise quit using tobacco altogether."

"Once you're dealing with someone addicted to nicotine it's a lot more difficult to quit than one can ever imagine," Holmgrem stated, adding she's come across research that suggests it's easier to kick a cocaine addiction than cigarette smoking.

According to the 2010 Surgeon Generals Report - How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking – Attributable Disease, "the design and contents of tobacco products make them more attractive and addictive than ever before."

As for smoking bylaws passed to help encourage people to 'butt-out', Holmgren said they haven't made a big difference, as more than 20 per cent of Canadians are still smoking.

In order to see major changes she said smoking laws need to be enforced as criminal laws with criminal consequences — most provinces; excluding Alberta, Quebec and the Northwest Territories, have instituted a law where people aren't allowed to smoke in their vehicles if children are present.

But how many people have been fined for this?

"If it's not a criminal offense and just a bylaw violation, people are still going to do it," Holmgren said.

Health Canada: Smoking

  • Every 11 minutes a Canadian dies from tobacco use
  • Every 10 minutes, two Canadian teenagers start smoking cigarettes; one of them will lose their life because of it.
  • Yearly, more than one thousand Canadians who never even smoked die from exposure to tobacco smoke
  • Thousands are diagnosed with illnesses related to tobacco use
  • Each year more than 45,000 Canadians die because of tobacco.
External links:

Statistic Canada: Smoking

The 2010 Surgeon Generals Report - How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking

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