Why We Exist


Here’s what the evidence says about how and why young adults smoke:

More young adults smoke than any other age group group
20% (18-29 year olds) vs. 16% (all age groups 15+ years old)1

Smoking rates are even higher among certain subgroups, such as young adults working or training in skilled trades or sales/services and those that identify as male, LGBTQ2S+ or Indigenous.

Up to 1 in 4 smokers have their first cigarette after the age of 18.2

Young adulthood is a stressful time, which may increase the risk of smoking3-5

Most young adult smokers say they want to quit6-8

Quitting before the age of 30 can eliminate the increased risk for cancer, heart disease, and other tobacco-related illnesses9



  1. Health Canada. (2013). Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs (CTADS): 2013 summary.
  2. Hammond, D. (2005). Smoking behaviour among young adults: beyond youth prevention. Tobacco Control, 14, 181-185.
  3. Steptoe, A., Wardle, J., Plooard, T., Canaan, L., & Davies, G. (1996). Stress, social support and health-related behavior: a study of smoking, alcohol consumption and physical exercise. Journal of Psychomotor Research, 41, 171-180.
  4. Lenz, B. (2004). Tobacco, Depression, and Lifestyle Choices in the Pivotal Early College Years. Journal of American College Health, 52, 213-219.
  5. Naquin, M., & Gilbert, G. (1996). College students’ smoking behavior, perceived stress, and coping styles. Journal of Drug Education 26, 367-377.
  6. Bachman, M., Znoj, H., & Brodbeck, J. (2012). Smoking behavior, former quit attempts and intention to quit in urban adolescents and young adults: A five year longitudinal study. Public Health, 126 (12), 1044-1050.
  7. Solberg, L. I., Asche, S. E., Boyle, R., McCarty, M. C., & Thoele, M. J. (2007). Smoking and cessation behaviors among young adults of various educational backgrounds. American Journal of Public Health, 97 (8), 1421-1426.
  8. Tucker, J. S., Ellickson, P. L., Orlando, M., & Klein, D. J. (2005). Predictors of attempted quitting and cessation among young adult smokers. Preventive Medicine, 41 (2), 554‐561.
  9. Pirie, K., Peto, R., Reeves, G. K., et al. (2012). The 21st century hazards of smoking and benefits of stopping: a prospective study of one million women in the UK. Lancet, 381 (9861), 133-41.
  10. Fiore, M.C., Bailey, W.C., Cohen, S. J. et al. (2000). Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence. Clinical Practice Guidelines. Rockville, MD: USDHHS.