Latest Federal Data on Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Use Released

Overall tobacco use rate declines, but work still to be done

OTTAWA, Nov. 9, 2016 /CNW/ – Tobacco use and the problematic use of substances can negatively impact families and communities, and increase costs for our healthcare system.

Today, Statistics Canada published the results of the Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drugs Survey (CTADS) 2015. The CTADS is a general population survey of tobacco, alcohol and drug use among Canadians aged 15 years and older, with a focus on 15-24 year olds. Statistics Canada conducted the survey on behalf of Health Canada and interviewed more than 15,000 Canadians over the telephone, including for the first time households with only cellular telephones.

The CTADS results show progress in reducing smoking among adults. They also highlight the work still to be done with youth, in areas including tobacco, supporting our efforts such as the recently proposed ban on menthol in cigarettes, blunt wraps and most cigars, introduce plain packaging for all tobacco products, and regulate vaping products.

Data on the use of cannabis highlight the importance of legalization and strict regulation in this area, while alcohol use by Canadians aged 15 years and older was unchanged from the previous survey.

The Government of Canada remains committed to making evidence-based health policy and regulatory decisions, and the CTADS data are an important resource.

Quick Facts


  • The overall cigarette smoking prevalence in 2015 was 13%, down from 15% in 2013. This represents 3.8 million Canadians.
  • These decreases were driven by reductions in the prevalence of use by adults over age 25; however, there was no change in prevalence for youth and young adults.
  • Use of e-cigarettes has increased, with 13% of Canadians having tried an e-cigarette, an increase from 9% in 2013. Among those who had tried an e-cigarette, 47% reported that their last e-cigarette had contained nicotine.
  • Half of current or former smokers who had ever tried an e-cigarette reported using e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid.


  • Past-year use of cannabis increased slightly from 11% in 2013 to 12% in 2015. Of note, more than a quarter (28%) of past-year cannabis users reported vaporizing it.
  • Among past-year cannabis users, 24% reported using cannabis for medical purposes.

Psychoactive Pharmaceuticals:

  • Twenty-one percent (21%) of Canadians aged 15 years and older indicated they had used a psychoactive pharmaceutical in the past year, and among these users, 3% reported they abused such a drug. This prevalence is unchanged from 2013.


  • The reported past-year use of opioid pain relievers, both therapeutic use and abuse, declined to 13% in 2015 from 15% in 2013.
  • Among past-year users of opioid pain relievers, 2% reported abusing them, unchanged from 2013.

Other illicit drugs:

  • Past-year use of at least one of five illicit drugs (cocaine or crack, speed or methamphetamine, ecstasy, hallucinogens, or heroin) was reported by 2% of Canadians aged 15 years and older, an increase from 2013 (1.6%).


“While I am happy to see that the overall smoking rates have fallen, the CTADS data show we still have work to do. We must continue the fight to reduce the rates of tobacco use, particularly among youth. We must also remain vigilant in moving forward with our partners in addressing the problematic use of other substances as well.”

Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

Associated Links
Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Survey
The Daily: Statistics Canada’s official release bulletin
National Anti-Drug Strategy
Federal Tobacco Control Strategy
Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse

Health Canada news releases are available on the Internet at:

SOURCE Health Canada