Vaping among high school students dropped to 24 per cent, says Health Canada

Health Canada says there has been a five per cent decrease in vaping among high school students in grades 10 to 12 during the 2021-22 school year compared to 2018-19.

Data comes from the Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drugs Survey (CSTADS) conducted between September 2021 and June 2022 in nine Canadian provinces.

According to the federal health agency, a total sample of 61,096 students in grades 7 to 12 were involved in the survey, excluding students in New Brunswick who declined to participate.

The data reveals that students in grades 7 to 9 exhibit a higher willingness to continue vaping, as indicated by the minimal one per cent decrease observed from 11 per cent in 2018-19 to 10 per cent in 2021-22.

The data also shows that smoking among students in grades 7 to 12 decreased to 14 per cent in 2021-22 from 19 per cent in 2018-19. 

The survey found 17 per cent of students in grades 7 to 12 had tried at least one tobacco product in 2021-22.

When it comes to alcohol, 39 per cent of students in grades 7 to 12 said they consumed alcohol in the last 12 months in 2021-22, a five per cent decrease compared with 2018-19.

Following alcohol, cannabis—which includes marijuana, hash and hash oil—has the second highest prevalence of use among students in Canada.

According to the survey, 18 per cent of students in grades 7 to 12 reported using cannabis in the past year, unchanged from 2018-19.

When students were asked about the consumption of 10 different types of illegal drugs, seven per cent said they consumed one or more illegal drugs in the past 12 months.

Health Canada says the majority of students usually obtained their cigarettes and other tobacco products from social sources such as friends and family rather than retail sources.

The Canadian Cancer Society said it urges the federal government to “immediately” adopt a comprehensive ban on flavours in e-cigarettes in an effort to deter young people from using vapes.

“While it is good that rates of youth vaping did not continue to rise further in this survey, rates of youth vaping remain unacceptably high. Far more needs to be done.” the Canadian Cancer Society said in a news release published on Tuesday.

“Note that the CSTADS survey only looks at students in grades 7-12. It does not look at young adults. Students who vape can become addicted, grow older, and continue to vape as they become adults. There are now more than 500,000 Canadians who vape who have never smoked.”


Reporting for this story was paid for through The Afghan Journalists in Residence Project funded by Meta.

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