Students smoking a little less, but taking drugs just as much
The Government of Canada has published the results of the 2014-15 Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drugs Survey.
The CSTADS shows continued progress in lowering youth smoking rates (to 3 % down from 4%), while also highlighting the persistent use of flavoured tobacco (7%), including menthol (3%). The study also highlights evidence on the ongoing misuse of psychoactive pharmaceutical products among students.
The CSTADS, previously called the Youth Smoking Survey, is a national survey of tobacco, alcohol and drug use among Canadian students in Grades 6 to 12. More than 42,000 students responded to the survey, conducted by the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo on behalf of Health Canada. Only students in Grades 7 to 12 were asked questions about drugs and alcohol.
Among the various findings, CSTADS reported a decline in both the number of students who had ever tried smoking a cigarette and who are current smokers. Alcohol remained the most frequently used substance by Canadian students, followed by cannabis (17%), synthetic cannabinoids, and psychoactive pharmaceutical products, including prescription pain relievers (3% —1% oxycodone and 0.4% fentanyl), taken to get high.
The survey also includes the first national student data on e-cigarette use, which will add to the growing body of knowledge that will inform next steps by Health Canada in regulating this product.