Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 93, Issue 4, pp 313–316 | Cite as

Smoking on Campus

An Examination of Smoking Behaviours Among Post-secondary Students in Canada
  • John CairneyEmail author
  • Kelli-an Lawrance


Background: Much of the literature on smoking behaviours has focused on adult populations and, more recently, on children and adolescents. A very small body of work has begun to emerge on smoking behaviours among post-secondary students.

Methods: Using the 1994–95 National Population Health Survey, we examined smoking prevalence, age of smoking initiation, and smoking cessation behaviours of post-secondary students, under 30 years old.

Results: Approximately 26% of post-secondary students smoke either occasionally or regularly. Among current smokers, some 27% began to smoke after the age of 17; among former smokers, 57% quit in their 20s.

Interpretation: Smoking prevalence is relatively high in adolescents, and many smokers begin to smoke at about the age they enter university or college. Further research is required to better understand smoking behaviour among this largely overlooked sub-group in the population.


Contexte: Une forte proportion des documents sur l’usage du tabac concerne la population adulte et, depuis peu, les enfants et les adolescents. De très rares études commencent à paraître sur l’usage du tabac chez les étudiants de niveau postsecondaire.

Méthode: À l’aide de l’Enquête nationale sur la santé de la population de 1994–1995, nous avons examiné la prévalence du tabagisme, l’âge d’initiation au tabac et le renoncement au tabac chez les étudiants de moins de 30 ans de niveau postsecondaire.

Résultats: Environ 26 % des étudiants de niveau postsecondaire fument à l’occasion ou régulièrement. Parmi les fumeurs actuels, environ 27 % ont commencé après l’âge de 17 ans; parmi les anciens fumeurs, 57 % ont abandonné la cigarette dans la vingtaine.

Interprétation: La prévalence du tabagisme est relativement élevée chez les adolescents, et de nombreux fumeurs ont commencé à fumer vers l’âge de l’entrée à l’université ou au cégep. Il faudrait pousser les recherches pour mieux comprendre le phénomène du tabagisme dans ce sousgroupe très souvent négligé.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Canadian Centre for Studies of Children at Risk, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural NeuroscienceMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Community Health SciencesBrock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada

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