Canada - Statistics Canada survey smoking among young people is dropping..

February 17, 2010 - According to recent figures from Statistics Canada is the rate of smoking among young people is dropping -- down 8% in the last year. The bad news is the smoking rate of people aged 20 to 24 is still above the national average, which has, incidentally, remained relatively static.

More than one in five young Canadians are still lighting up, despite reams of medical and scientific evidence proving cigarette smoking is bad for your health -- and of those around you. Overall, the smoking rate in Canada in 2009 settled at 17%, down slightly from 2008.

The downward trend is encouraging, but it is astounding that so many people are still willing to put their lives at risk with this costly habit.

The younger generation should know better. It grew up in an era when public health messages about the dangers of smoking were plentiful -- in schools, in commercials, even on the packages of cigarettes themselves. But despite the availability of this information, too many continue to fall victim to this habit that claims the lives of 45,000 Canadians every year. Not surprisingly, as education levels rise, the rate of smoking falls further. Nearly a quarter of people with a high school education are smokers while only one in 10 university graduates admit to puffing away.

One of the challenges in the battle against smoking is that tobacco is a legal product, and it is product that brings in gobs of cash to provincial and federal treasuries through taxes applied at the point of sale. So while governments have taken strides to limit and reduce tobacco use -- all but eliminating smoking in indoor public places, banning tobacco advertising, prohibiting sale to (but not consumption by) minors -- they haven't taken the ultimate step and banned tobacco.

The sad reality is governments are addicted to tobacco tax revenue just as too many Canadians are addicted to smoking.

Reference: Editorial: Government addicted to tobacco tax revenue, Posted By KALVIN REID,, 2/16/2010.