According to the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS
), from 2013-2014, about half of current or former adult (20+ years) smokers
in Simcoe Muskoka reported smoking their first whole cigarette before they were 16 years of age and less than one-quarter reported waiting until they were at least 19 years of age (the legal smoking age in Ontario) before smoking their first cigarette. First smoking before 16 years of age was significantly higher in Simcoe Muskoka when compared with the province overall.
Also from (CCHS
) in 2013-2014, current daily smokers were asked when they first began to smoke cigarettes daily. Approximately one-third of Simcoe Muskoka adult (20+ years) daily smokers reported smoking daily before the age of 16, which was significantly higher than the provincial average for the same survey period.
Early daily smoking initiation is highest among those with lower levels of income and education. According the CCHS, between 2007 and 2012 combined, the per cent of Ontario daily smokers (25-64 years) that began smoking daily before 16 years of age is highest among those with a high school diploma or less and lowest among those with a University degree or higher. Daily smoking before 16 years of age is also highest among those in the lowest income quintile.