Smoking Facts

Youth Smoking:
  • The three age groups with the most smokers are also the youngest: 15 to 18 years old (25%), 19 to 24 (31%), and 25 to 44 (27%)
  • With every new generation, the average age youth start smoking is dropping
  • Eight out of ten smokers who try smoking become addicted
  • For those who start smoking as youth, it requires an average of 18 years to quit
  • While adults take an estimated two years to become addicted, teen girls get hooked on tobacco in an average of three weeks, and teen boys in six months
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  The average smoker spends over $150,000   on cigarettes in a lifetime!

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Rates of Smoking:

  • Over 715,000 adults in BC (23% of the population) use tobacco regularly
  • In Northern BC, tobacco use increases to 30% of the population

Impact of Smoking:

  • One in two smokers dies prematurely
  • 3,600 smokers die each year in BC from tobacco related causes
  • 14% of British Columbians are exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke regularly
  • In Northern BC, exposure to second-hand smoke increases to 30%
  • What's in a cigarette?

Costs of Smoking:

  • Smokers cost BC taxpayers an estimated $1.4 billion annually in direct health care and indirect productivity costs
  • Each new smokers represents lifetime expenditures of approximately $37,333, assuming 20 years of smoking and an average life span of 68 years
  • Each smoker costs their employers an extra $2,500 annually in decreased productivity and increased absenteeism

Smoking and Dropping Out:

  • Smoking is strongly correlated with poor educational and social outcomes
  • By high school graduation, almost 70% of">dropouts smoke cigarettes, compared to 28% of those still attending school

[1] BC Ministry of Health, Ibid

[2] Thomas H. Maugh II / Los Angeles Times: August 2002. Research shows teens are easily hooked on tobacco. Study: Young girls become addicted even faster than boys. Available:

[3] Bishops College Guidance Department. Facts You Should Know About Cigarette Smoking.

[4] Thomas H. Maugh II / Los Angeles Times, Ibid

[5] BC Ministry of Health. Tobacco Truth: TobaccoFacts: Who Smokes in BC.

[6] BC Ministry of Health, Ibid

[7] BC Ministry of Health, Ibid

[8] BC Ministry of Health, Ibid

[9] Health Canada: January 2001. Smoking and the Bottom Line: The Costs of Smoking in the Workplace.

[10] Moolchan, Eric T.: June 2000. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry: A Review of Tobacco Smoking in Adolescents: Treatment Implications.

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