Nineteen per cent of males and 13 per cent of females aged 12 and older smoked cigarettes either daily or occasionally in 2018, according to the 2018 Canadian Community Health Survey. (Black Press File).

Nineteen per cent of males and 13 per cent of females aged 12 and older smoked cigarettes either daily or occasionally in 2018, according to the 2018 Canadian Community Health Survey. (Black Press File).

Canadians smoke less according to community health survey

Obesity and heavy drinking rates remain steady

Canadians smoke less, according to the 2018 Canadian Community Health Survey.

Nineteen per cent of males and 13 per cent of females aged 12 and older smoked cigarettes either daily or occasionally in 2018, according to the survey. The proportion of current smokers has declined for both sexes since 2015, when it was 20 per cent for males and 15 per cent for females.

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Alternatively, the share of young adults who have never smoked by age 24 is rising. In 2018, over six in 10 Canadians aged 20 to 24 had never smoked a whole cigarette (63 per cent), an increase from 2015 (58 per cent). Public health officials consider the proportion of young adults who have never smoked by age 24 a predictor of future smoking rates.

The survey also classifies about 6 million Canadians aged 12 and older as heavy drinkers. Heavy drinking refers to males who have had five or more drinks, and females who have had four or more drinks, per occasion, at least once a month during the past year. Overall, the share of heavy drinkers has remained stable from 2015 to 2018.

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According to the statistics, heavy drinkers are more likely to be male than female, 18 to 34 years old, and living in rural areas. Heavy drinking rates are higher than the national average in Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec, lower in Ontario and Manitoba, with the rest of the provinces including British Columbia on par with the national average.

If Canadians smoke less and generally moderate their alcohol intake, they also maintain their weight.

Public health officials consider 25 per cent of Canadians aged 18 and older — roughly 7 million adults — as obese in 2018.

This rate of obese adults has remained stable since 2015, with males more likely to be obese than females.

Canadians aged 35 to 49 and those aged 50 to 64 were most likely to be obese, with just over three in 10 people reporting height and weight combinations considered obese based on the Body Mass Index Measure (BMI). A person falls within the obese range with an BMI of 30 or more.

Quebec (25 per cent) and British Columbia (23 per cent) were the only provinces where the proportion of obese adults was lower than the national average. All other provinces had a higher proportion of obese adults compared with the national average, except for Ontario where the proportion was similar to the national average.


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wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com