Did You Know?

About Tobacco
Tobacco can be smoked, chewed, dipped, and snuffed. All of these forms of tobacco use are dangerous and can affect your health.

Nicotine, the substance found in cigarettes and other tobacco products is highly addictive. Research shows that the nicotine in tobacco is just as addictive as other drugs such as cocaine or heroin.

Nicotine is both a stimulant and a depressant. That means at first, it will increase your heart rate and make you feel more alert (similar to the effects of caffeine found in coffee and cola). Then it can cause you to crash, feel tired and depressed. Feeling down and tired makes you crave another cigarette to feel alert again, creating an addictive cycle.

Tobacco Fast Facts

  • Girls and young women who are physically active or involved in sports are less likely to use tobacco.
  • Physical activity is an ideal substitute for tobacco use. It is a healthier means to address many of the reasons why youth start smoking such as curing boredom, maintaining a healthy weight and managing stress. Physical activity also helps build self-esteem and foster positive social connections.
  • Each day, between 82,000 and 99,000 young people around the world start smoking.
  • Approximately 19.5 % of girls and young women (grades 6-9) have tried tobacco.
  • Approximately 48 % of girls and young women (grades 10-12) have tried tobacco.
  • Almost 20% of Canadian teenagers (age 12-19) currently smoke either daily or occasionally.
  • Roughly 75 % of adolescent females report obtaining their cigarettes from social sources (friends, family etc.) versus 60 % for males, who tend to buy cigarettes directly through retail outlets.
  • Youth smokers make more attempts to quit smoking than adult smokers.
  • Smoking rates for youth climbed in the early 1990s, but have been slowly declining. In other words, if you stay tobacco-free or quit now, you’ll be in good company.
  • Most people who become smokers first take up smoking in their teens. One of the major reasons teens start to smoke is peer influence. Over 70% of teens say that having friends who smoke and/or peer pressure is the reason they started smoking. Other reasons why teens say they started smoking:
    • “My parents smoke.”
    • “I just wanted to try it.”
    • “Smoking keeps my weight down.”
    • “It gives me something to do when I hang out with my friends.”


Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sports and Physical Activity. (n.d.). Active & Free: Young women, physical activity and tobacco. Retrieved from http://www.caaws.ca/activeandfree/e/index.cfm

Canadian Lung Association. (n.d.). Teens and smoking. Retrieved from http://www.lung.ca/protect-protegez/tobacco-tabagisme/facts-faits/teens-ados_e.php

Health Canada. (2010). Summary of Results of the 2008-09 Youth Smoking Survey. Retrieved from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/tobac-tabac/research-recherche/stat/_survey-sondage_2008-2009/result-eng.php

Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity

N202 - 801 King Edward Avenue
Ottawa, ON, Canada K1N 6N5
Phone: 613-562-5667
Fax: 613-562-5668