Tobacco Use

Tobacco Use Data

This section includes data on the prevalence of tobacco-related behaviours, morbidity and mortality related to tobacco-related behaviours, and exposure to second-hand smoke.

For more information on tobacco and smoking cessation services in Ottawa, please refer to Ottawa Public Health's webpage on tobacco, e-cigarettes and hookahs.

Adult Smoking

Current Smoking Trends Over Time

Current smoking includes those aged 19 and older that have used at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and currently smoke tobacco.

  • In 2015-2016, 15% of Ottawa residents aged 19 and older were current smokers. This estimate was significantly lower than Ontario-less-Ottawa (17%). [1]
  • Current smoking rates in Ottawa have declined since the early 2000’s (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Percentage of current smokers aged 19 years and older in Ottawa and Ontario-less-Ottawa, from 2001 to 2016 

Line chart with the estimates of current smokers age 19 and older by year in Ottawa from 2001 to 2016

Data Source and Notes for Figure 1

Ottawa Public Health. Canadian Community Health Survey, 2001-2016, Ontario Share File, Statistics Canada

  • The Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) is an annual national population health survey conducted by Statistics Canada.
  • In 2015, Statistics Canada changed the design, methodology and questionnaire of the CCHS. As a result of the changes from the 2015 redesign, caution should be taken when comparing estimates to previous years.
  • The vertical dashed line on the right represents the change in CCHS sampling methods.
  • Error bars represent 95% confidence intervals.
 Data Table for Figure 1
Table 1. Percentage of current smokers aged 19 years and older in Ottawa and Ontario-less-Ottawa, from 2001 to 2016
Measure

2001 (%)

2003 (%)2005 (%)2007-2008 (%)2009-2010 (%)2011-2012 (%)2013-2014 (%)2015-2016 (%)
Current Smoking in Ottawa 22.1 20.3 20.5 18.4 16.4 16.6 16.8 14.6
Current Smoking in Ottawa 95% Confidence Interval 2.3 2.7 2.6 2.6 2.9 2.9 2.7 2.9
Current Smoking in Ontario-less-Ottawa 26.1 23.8 22.4 22.2 20.6 20.5 19.1 17.1
Current Smoking in Ontario-less-Ottawa 95% Confidence Interval 0.8 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.8 0.8 0.7 0.8

Current Smoking Trends by Socio-demographics

  • In Ottawa, current smoking prevalence is higher among those (Figure 2):
    • between the ages of 19 and 24 (18%*);
    • with French as a mother tongue (20%*);
    • with lower levels of education (22%*); and
    • with lower income (26%*).

Figure 2. Percentage of current smokers aged 19 years and older by selected socio-demographic indicators in Ottawa in 2015/16. Only the 12 to 18 year age group includes those under 19 years of age. 

Horizontal bar chart of percentage of current smokers aged 19 years and older by demographic subgroups in Ottawa from 2015 to 2016.

 Data Source and Notes for Figure 2
Ottawa Public Health. Canadian Community Health Survey, 2001 to 2016, Ontario Share File, Statistics Canada
  • The Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) is an annual national population health survey conducted by Statistics Canada.
  • Error bars represent 95% confidence intervals.
  • *Interpret with caution - high sampling variability.
  • NR = Data are not reportable.
  • Household income quintile (Q1 to Q5) is a measure of household income relative to all other survey respondents in Ottawa, adjusted for household size. A respondent in Q1 would be in the lowest 20% of household incomes and a respondent in Q5 would be in the highest 20% of household incomes.
 Data Table for Figure 2
Table 2. Percentage of current smokers aged 19 years and older by selected socio-demographic indicators in Ottawa in 2015/16. Only the 12-18 age group includes those under 19 years of age.
MeasureEstimate (%)95% Confidence IntervalInterpretation
Ottawa Prevalence 14.6 2.9  
Ontario-less-Ottawa Prevalence 17.1 0.8  
12 to 18 Years     Not reportable
19 to 24 Years 18.1 9.4 Interpret with caution
25 to 44 Years 16.4 5 Interpret with caution
45 to 64 Years 15.5 4.8 Interpret with caution
65 Years and Older 6.9 3.3 Interpret with caution
Mother Tongue is English 13.6 3.4 Interpret with caution
Mother Tongue is French 20.2 7 Interpret with caution
Mother Tongue is a Language Other than English or French 7.9 3.7 Interpret with caution
Income Quintile 1 (Lowest Income) 25.8 7.8 Interpret with caution
Income Quintile 2 14.1 6.8 Interpret with caution
Income Quintile 3 19.2 6.5 Interpret with caution
Income Quintile 4 10.2 4.6 Interpret with caution
Income Quintile 5 (Highest Income) 5 3.2 Interpret with caution
Highest Educational Attainment is Less than High School 21.6 10.5 Interpret with caution
Highest Educational Attainment is High School 23.1 8.3 Interpret with caution
Highest Educational Attainment is Postsecondary 12 3.1 Interpret with caution
Not an immigrant 15.7 3.3  
Immigrated Less than 10 Years Ago     Not reportable
Immigrated More than 10 Years Ago 7.2 4.2 Interpret with caution

Daily Smoking Trends Over Time

  • An estimated 10% of the Ottawa population aged 19 and over smoke tobacco daily. Daily smoking rates in Ottawa and Ontario-less-Ottawa have decreased since the early 2000’s (Figure 3).
  • Daily smoking is highest among those in the lowest income category and among those without post-secondary education (Figure 4).

Figure 3. Percentage of daily smokers aged 19 years and older in Ottawa and Ontario-less-Ottawa, from 2001 to 2016

Line chart with the estimates of daily smokers age 19 and older by year in Ottawa from 2001 to 2016

 Data Source and Notes for Figure 3
Ottawa Public Health. Canadian Community Health Survey 2001 to 2016. Ontario Share File. Statistics Canada.
  • The Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) is an annual national population health survey conducted by Statistics Canada.
  • In 2015, Statistics Canada changed the design, methodology and questionnaire of the CCHS. As a result of the changes from the 2015 redesign, caution should be taken when comparing estimates to previous years.
  • The vertical dashed line on the right represents the change in CCHS sampling methods.
  • Error bars represent 95% confidence intervals.
 Data Table for Figure 3
Table 3. Percentage of daily smokers aged 19 years and over in Ottawa and Ontario-less-Ottawa, from 2001 to 2016
 Measure2001 (%)2003 (%)2005 (%)2007-2008 (%)2009-2010 (%)2011-2012 (%)2013-2014 (%)2015-2016 (%)
Ottawa 18.2 14.8 14.4 13.2 10.5 11 11.7 9.8
Ottawa 95% Confidence Interval 2.3 2.3 2.1 2.4 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.4
Ontario-less-Ottawa 21.7 18.4 17.4 18 16 15.6 14.4 12.7
Ontario-less-Ottawa 95% Confidence Interval 0.7 0.6 0.6 0.7 0.6 0.7 0.7 0.6

Daily Smoking by Socio-demographics

 Figure 4. Percentage of daily smokers aged 19 years and older by selected socio-demographic indicators in Ottawa in 2015/16. Only the 12 to 18 year age group includes those under 19 years of age.

Bar chart of daily smoking prevalence for those aged 19 and older by demographic subgroups in Ottawa in 2015/2016. Only the 12-18 age group includes those under 19 years of age.

 Data Source and Notes for Figure 4

Ottawa Public Health. Canadian Community Health Survey 2001 to 2016. Ontario Share File. Statistics Canada.

  • The Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) is an annual national population health survey conducted by Statistics Canada.
  • Vertical solid lines represent 95% confidence intervals.
  • *Interpret with caution - high sampling variability.
  • NR = Data are not reportable.
  • Household income quintile (Q1 to Q5) is a measure of household income relative to all other survey respondents in Ottawa, adjusted for household size. A respondent in Q1 would be in the lowest 20% of household incomes and a respondent in Q5 would be in the highest 20% of household incomes.
 Data Table for Figure 4
Table 4. Percentage of daily smokers aged 19 years and older by selected socio-demographic indicators in Ottawa in 2015-2016. Only the 12 to 18 year age group includes those under 19 years of age.
Socio-demographic IndicatorEstimate (%)95% Confidence IntervalInterpretation
Ottawa Prevalence 9.8 2.4  
Ontario-less-Ottawa Prevalence 12.4 0.7  
12 to 18 Years     Not reportable
19 to 24 Years     Not reportable
25 to 44 Years 9.6 4.3 Interpret with caution
45 to 64 Years 12.3 4.3 Interpret with caution
65+ Years 6.3 3.2 Interpret with caution
Mother Tongue is English 8.1 2.3  
Mother Tongue is French 13.1 5.9 Interpret with caution
Mother Tongue is a Language Other than English or French 5.7 3.3 Interpret with caution
Income Quintile 1 (Lowest Income) 20.5 7.8 Interpret with caution
Income Quintile 2 9 4.9 Interpret with caution
Income Quintile 3 9.5 5.2 Interpret with caution
Income Quintile 4 7.4 4.4 Interpret with caution
Income Quintile 5 (Highest Income)     Not reportable
Highest Educational Attainment is Less than high school 19.2 10.4 Interpret with caution
Highest Educational Attainment is High school 15.6 7.6 Interpret with caution
Highest Educational Attainment is Postsecondary 7.7 2.3 Interpret with caution

Youth Smoking

This section describes cigarette use and access to tobacco among youth in Ottawa.

Use of cigarettes

  • Among Grade 7 to 12 students [2]:
    • 6% reported smoking one or more cigarette in the past year;
    • 4% were former smokers;
    • 4% had tried a few puffs to one whole cigarette in the past year; and
    • 87% had never smoked.
  • Elementary students (Grades 7 and 8) were significantly more likely to report having never used cigarettes in the past year (97%) compared to students in high school (83%). [2]

Ease of acquiring cigarettes

Students in Grades 7 to 12 were asked how easy they felt it would be to get cigarettes if they wanted them.

  • 43% percent of students reported that they felt it would be very to fairly easy to get cigarettes. An additional 29% reported that it would be fairly difficult to impossible and 27% did not know. [2]
  • High school students (Grades 9 to 12) (53%) were more likely than elementary students (Grades 7 to 8) (26%) to say that it would be very to fairly easy to get cigarettes. [2]
  • Students who identified as immigrants were less likely to feel that it would be easy to get cigarettes compared (30%) to non-immigrant students (48%). [2]

Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke

Public Places

  • In Ottawa, 15% of the population aged 12 years and older who are not daily smokers reported regular exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in public places. This estimate is not significantly different from Ontario-less-Ottawa (16%). [1]

Workplaces and Schools

  • In Ottawa, 9% of the population aged 12 years and older who are not daily smokers reported regular exposure to ETS at work or school. This is not significantly different from Ontario-less-Ottawa (11%). [1]
  • 14% of Ottawa students in Grades 7 to 12 are regularly (4 or more days a week) exposed to other people’s tobacco smoke. [2]
    • Students in Grades 9 to 12 (17%) were more likely than students in Grades 7 and 8 (9%) to be exposed to seconhand smoke. [2]

Vehicles

  • 3% of the Ottawa population aged 12 years and up who are not daily smokers reported being regularly exposed to ETS in vehicles. [1]

Smoke-free Homes

  • In Ottawa, 92% of homes are completely smoke free. This is higher than Ontario-less-Ottawa for which 90% of homes are completely smoke free. [1]

Health Burden of Smoking

Health burden is measured based on a 5 year average and uses multiple data sources. [3,4,5]
  • Smoking is responsible for an estimated 916 deaths per year in Ottawa.
    • 866 deaths (17% of deaths from any cause) are attributable to current or former cigarette smoking among adults aged 35 years and older and
    • 50 deaths (1% of deaths from any cause) are attributable to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure in residents aged 15 years and older. 
    • Cancer accounts for 50% of smoking-attributable mortality (SAM) among current or former smokers, while cardiovascular disease accounts for 29% of SAM, and respiratory disease accounts for 21% of SAM.
  • There are an estimated 3,020 acute hospitalizations per year in Ottawa attributable to smoking.
    • 2,942 hospitalizations are attributable to current or former cigarette smoking
    • 118 hospitalizations are attributable to environmental tobacco smoke exposure among residents.
  • Hospitalization costs amounted to an average of $32.7 million per year for smoking-attributable hospitalizations of Ottawa residents from 2008 to 2012.
    • $31.1 million for current or former smokers
    • $1.6 million for non-smokers regularly exposed to ETS.

Waterpipe Use

Smoking tobacco using a waterpipe (also called a hookah or sheesha) is increasing in prevalence worldwide. The misconception that waterpipe smoking is safer than other forms of tobacco use may lead users to underestimate health risks. [6]

Waterpipe Use Among Adults

Waterpipe Used at Least Once - Adults (18 years and older)

  • In 2017, 26% of adults in Ottawa had used a waterpipe at some point in their life to smoke tobacco or non-tobacco herbal products. [7] Waterpipe use at least once in a lifetime was highest among men and those aged 18 to 24 years (Figure 5).
  • Among Ottawa adults that had used a waterpipe in their lifetime [7]:
    • 38% had used tobacco only;
    • 36% had used herbal products only; and
    • 26% had used both tobacco and herbal products.
  • In 2017, 4%* of adults in Ottawa that had never used a waterpipe reported having seriously thought about smoking a waterpipe. [7]

Figure 5. Percentage of adults aged 18 years and older who used a waterpipe at least once in their lifetime by selected socio-demographic indicators in Ottawa in 2017. 

Bar graph showing lifetime waterpipe use by subgroup.

 

 Data Source and Notes for Figure 5

Ottawa Public Health. Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2017.

Vertical bars represent 95% confidence intervals.

* Interpret with caution due to high sampling variability

 Data Table for Figure 5
Table 5. Lifetime waterpipe use among those 18 and older by subgroups in Ottawa, 2017

Measure

Estimate (%)

95% confidence interval

Interpretation

2017

25.8

3.2

 

Male

34.1

4.9

 

Female

17.9

4.2

 

18 to 24 Years of Age

49.6

14.2

 

25 to 44 Years of Age

37.8

6.7

 

45 to 64 Years of Age

16.2

3.8

 

65+ Years of Age

6.8

2.8

Interpret with caution

Waterpipe Use in the Past 12 months – Adults (18 years and older)

  • In 2017, 6%* of Ottawa adults had used a waterpipe in the past 12 months to smoke tobacco or non-tobacco herbal products. [7] This is not different than the estimate for Ontario (including Ottawa). [8
  • Use is highest among young adults aged 18 to 24 at 28%. [7]
  • Ottawa adults reported using a waterpipe in the past 12 months at the following locations (no other locations are reportable due to high sampling variability)[7]:
    • restaurant, bar, or club (43%*);
    • at home (41%*); and
    • someone else’s home (35%*).
  • Of Ottawa adults that had used a waterpipe in the past 12 months, 78% used the waterpipe once a month or less and 22%* used the waterpipe more than once a month. [7]
  • Of those who have used a waterpipe in the past 12 months, 58%* always or sometimes shared a mouthpiece. [7]

Waterpipe Use Among Youth

Waterpipe Use at Least Once – Youth (Grades 7 to 12)

  • In 2017, 14%* of grade 7 to 12 students in Ottawa had used a waterpipe at some point in their life. [2] This is not different from Ontario-less-Ottawa.

Waterpipe Use in the Past 12 Months – Youth (Grades 7 to 12)

  • In 2017, 9%* of grade 7 to 12 students in Ottawa had used a waterpipe in the past 12 months. [2] This is not different from Ontario-less-Ottawa.
  • Of grade 7 to 12 students in Ottawa that had used a waterpipe in the past 12 months, 7%* had experimented (i.e., used a few times or less) while 5%* were current users (i.e., at least once a month). [2]

Perception of Risk and Waterpipe Use – Youth (Grades 7 to 12)

  • The percent of Grade 7 to 12 students that felt smoking a waterpipe presented a physical risk to the user by risk level [2] was:
    • 43% medium to high risk to user;
    • 23% no or slight risk to user; and
    • 32% unsure of risk to user. 

E-cigarette Use

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are battery-powered devices that vaporise the liquid contents of a cartridge. The user then inhales the vapour.

Adult E-cigarette use

  • E-cigarette use in Ottawa among those aged 19 and over is 12% for use in their lifetime, 8%* for use in the past 12 months and 2%* for use in the past month. [7] This is not different from the Ontario population aged 18 and older (including Ottawa). [8]
  • Just over half of those who used e-cigarettes in the past 12 months are current smokers (56%*). Of current smokers, 39% reported using an e-cigarette in the past 12 months. [7]

Motives for use

  • Of those who used an e-cigarette in their lifetime, most of their use appears to be related to smoking cessation [7]:
    • 42% used e-cigarettes to help quit smoking,
    • 13%* to try to cut back on the amount of cigarettes.
  • In 2017, 12%* used e-cigarettes out of curiosity, down from 40% in 2016.

Beliefs about risk

  • When asked about their beliefs about the risks of using e-cigarettes [7]:

    • 66% of Ottawa residents aged 19 and over feel that it present a high to medium health risk;

    • 15% feel that it presents low or no risk; and

    • 19% are unsure of the risk

  • Those that used an e-cigarette in the past 12 months were nearly three times as likely as non-users to say that e-cigarettes represented low or no risk (35% versus 13%). [7]

Youth and E-cigarettes

  • One in ten (10.1%* (95% CI: 6.2% to 16.3%)) high school students (grade 9 to 12) had used an e-cigarette at least once in the past 12 months. [2] This is not different from Ontario-less-Ottawa.
  • 48% of Grade 9-12 students felt that e-cigarettes present no or a slight risk of physical harm with regular use. [2]

 Tobacco Reports

A Review of Tobacco Indicators 2012

The purpose of this report is to highlight important trends in tobacco in the population to support Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and its partners address strategic and operation decisions. The report portrays a current view of the prevalence of tobacco-related behaviours and the inevitable morbidity and mortality and cost attributable to tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke.
Review of Tobacco Indicators report [PDF 657 KB]

References

References

  1. Ottawa Public Health. Canadian Community Health Survey 2015/16. Ontario Share File. Statistics Canada
  2. Ottawa Public Health. Public Health Monitoring of Risk Factors in Ontario – Ontario Student Druge Use and Health Survey 2017. Centre for Addictions and Mental Health

  3. Ottawa Public Health. Canadian Community Health Survey 2008 to 2012. Ontario Share File. Statistics Canada
  4. Ontario Mortality Data 2008 to 2012, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, IntelliHEALTH ONTARIO, Date extracted: January 2017 
  5. National Ambulatory Care Reporting System (NACRS) 2013 to 2015. Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC): IntelliHEALTH ONTARIO, Date Extracted: January 2017 
  6. Cobb C,Ward KD, Maziak W, Shihadeh,AL, Eissenberg T. Waterpipe Tobacco Smoking: An Emerging Health Crisis in the United States. American Journal of Health Behavior, Volume 34, Number 3, May 2010 , pp. 275-285(11)
  7. Ottawa Public Health. Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2017.
  8. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Monitor (Full Year), 2016.

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