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
- Health Canada. (2013). Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs (CTADS): 2013 summary.
- Hammond, D. (2005). Smoking behaviour among young adults: beyond youth prevention. Tobacco Control, 14, 181-185.
- 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.
- Lenz, B. (2004). Tobacco, Depression, and Lifestyle Choices in the Pivotal Early College Years. Journal of American College Health, 52, 213-219.
- Naquin, M., & Gilbert, G. (1996). College students’ smoking behavior, perceived stress, and coping styles. Journal of Drug Education 26, 367-377.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Fiore, M.C., Bailey, W.C., Cohen, S. J. et al. (2000). Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence. Clinical Practice Guidelines. Rockville, MD: USDHHS.