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Canadian Paediatric Society

Prevent smoking among youth

Provincial/territorial legislation to protect children and youth from the effects of smoking continues to strengthen. The most recent data on tobacco use are based on national surveys conducted by Health Canada and Statistics Canada in 2013 (which excluded the territories). About 11% of youth 15 to 19 years of age were smokers in 2013 compared with 22% in 2001.10

However, smoking rates appear to be stabilizing and minority groups, particularly Indigenous and LGBTQ youth, have higher than average smoking rates.11 Among First Nations high school students living off-reserve, 25% reported smoking in 2008.12 They were also more likely to be exposed to second-hand smoke at home and in vehicles (37% and 51%, respectively) than their mainstream peers (20% and 30%).13

Some of the most effective measures to reduce smoking rates in teens are already in place across Canada, such as high taxes, labelling deterrents, bans on point-of sale displays and advertising to minors, and smoke-free spaces (including vehicles transporting minors). And while most jurisdictions have banned smoking in enclosed public spaces and in vehicles when children or youth are present (with the exception of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut), there is still much work to be done.

Youth are now exposed to a broader spectrum of tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco, flavoured tobacco, water pipes and e-cigarettes, over which there is inadequate government control. In 2013, the first national data set on e-cigarette use in Canada revealed that 20% of youth 15 to 19 years of age had tried e-cigarettes.14 It is possible that e-cigarette use among teenagers will soon surpass cigarette smoking.

The Canadian Paediatric Society urges governments to treat e-cigarettes the same way as traditional tobacco products and to expand all current smoking restrictions in public spaces and workplaces to include them.15 The CPS also calls on provinces and territories to ban smoking in all public places – including public playgrounds and sports fields and surfaces – as Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick have done.

Province/Territory2012 status2016 statusRecommended actionsComments
British Columbia

Excellent

Good

Implement a province-wide ban on smoking in outdoor public places to complement existing municipal bans.

The CPS credits municipalities that have banned smoking in recreational spaces, parks, beaches and publicly owned sports fields.  

Alberta

Good

Fair

Implement a province-wide ban on smoking in outdoor public places to complement existing municipal bans. Implement legislation on
e-cigarettes.

Alberta banned flavoured tobacco products in 2015.
 

The CPS credits municipalities that have banned smoking in recreational spaces, parks, beaches and publicly owned sports fields.

Saskatchewan

Excellent

Fair

Implement a province-wide ban on smoking in outdoor public places to complement existing municipal bans. Implement legislation on
e-cigarettes and flavoured tobacco products.

The CPS credits municipalities that have banned smoking in recreational spaces, parks, beaches and publicly owned sports fields.  

 

The city of Saskatoon has implemented legislation banning vaping anywhere smoking cigarettes is currently prohibited.

Manitoba

Excellent

Good

Implement a province-wide ban on smoking on outdoor restaurant patios. 

Manitoba has banned smoking on provincial park beaches and playgrounds.
 

The CPS credits municipalities that have banned smoking on outdoor restaurant patios. 

Ontario

Excellent

Excellent

Meets all CPS recommendations.

Quebec

Good

Excellent

Meets all CPS recommendations.

New Brunswick

Excellent

Excellent

Meets all CPS recommendations.

Nova Scotia

Excellent

Good

Implement a province-wide ban on smoking in outdoor public places.

Nova Scotia prohibits smoking on outdoor licensed areas and patios.
 

The CPS credits municipalities that have banned smoking in recreational spaces, parks, beaches and publicly owned sports fields.  

Prince Edward Island

Excellent

Good

Implement a province-wide ban on smoking in outdoor public places, including a full ban on smoking on outdoor restaurant patios.

PEI prohibits smoking on restaurant patios during certain hours of operation only.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Excellent

Good

Implement a province-wide ban on smoking in outdoor public places to complement existing municipal bans. 

The CPS credits the more than 85 municipalities that have banned smoking in recreational spaces, parks, beaches and publicly owned sports fields. 

Yukon

Excellent

Fair

Implement a province-wide ban on smoking in outdoor public places. Implement legislation on e-cigarettes and flavoured tobacco products.

Yukon prohibits smoking on outdoor licensed areas and patios.

Northwest Territories

Good

Poor

Implement legislation on smoking in cars with minors present. Implement a province-wide ban on smoking in outdoor public places. Implement legislation on e-cigarettes and flavoured tobacco products.

Nunavut

Good

Poor

Implement legislation on smoking in cars with minors present. Implement a province-wide ban on smoking in outdoor public places. Implement legislation on e-cigarettes and flavoured tobacco products.

Excellent

Province/territory prohibits smoking in all public places (including outdoors*). Legislation has been introduced to protect children and youth from tobacco in automobiles. Province/territory has passed legislation on e-cigarettes and flavoured tobacco products.

Good

Province/territory prohibits smoking in some, but not all, public spaces. Legislation has been introduced to protect children and youth from tobacco in automobiles. Province/territory has passed legislation on e-cigarettes and flavoured tobacco products.

Fair

Province/territory prohibits smoking in some, but not all, public spaces. Legislation has been introduced to protect children and youth from tobacco in automobiles. Province/territory does not have legislation on e-cigarettes and flavoured tobacco products.

Poor

Province/territory prohibits smoking in some, but not all, public spaces. Province/territory does not have legislation to protect children and youth from tobacco in automobiles. Province/territory does not have legislation on e-cigarettes and flavoured tobacco products.

*Outdoor spaces should include playgrounds and publicly owned sports fields and surfaces, or anywhere within 20 metres of such an area.

Endnotes

  1. Government of Canada. Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) 2012: healthycanadians.gc.ca/publications/healthy-living-vie-saine/tobacco-monitoring-survey-2012-enquete-surveillance-tabac/index-eng.php (accessed April 20, 2016).
  2. Harvey J, Chadi N; Canadian Paediatric Society, Adolescent Health Committee. Preventing smoking in children and adolescents: Recommendations for practice and policy. Paediatr Child Health 2016;21(4):209-21.
  3. Elton-Marshall T, Leatherdale ST, Burkhalter R. Tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug use among Aboriginal youth living off-reserve: Results from the Youth Smoking Survey. CMAJ 2011;183(8):E480-6 : www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2011/05/09/cmaj.101913.full.pdf+html (accessed April 20, 2016).
  4. Ibid.
  5. Government of Canada. Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CTADS). Summary of results for 2013: healthycanadians.gc.ca/science-research-sciences-recherches/data-donnees/ctads-ectad/summary-sommaire-2013-eng.php (accessed April 20, 2016).
  6. Stanwick R; Canadian Paediatric Society. E-cigarettes: Are we renormalizing public smoking? Reversing five decades of tobacco control and revitalizing nicotine dependency in children and youth in Canada. Paediatr Child Health 2015;20(2):101-5.