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July 30, 2003
For immediate release

Island Smoking Rates Are Dropping

Health and Social Services

The rate of smoking on Prince Edward Island has declined according to results released today in the Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS). The Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) is conducted twice a year by Statistics Canada for Health Canada.

"The results are very encouraging," said Health and Social Services Minister Jamie Ballem, "and re-enforce the importance of cessation support for Islanders who are smokers and continue our efforts in the area of prevention."

According to the survey:

23 percent of Island adults (age 15 and over) were smokers in 2002, compared to 26 percent in 1999. The Canadian average smoking rate for adults was 21 percent in 2002.

PEI had the third lowest rate of teen smoking in Canada in 2002. In 2002, 19 percent of Island teens (age 15-19 years) were smokers, compared to 28 percent in 1999. The Canadian average smoking rate for teens in 2002 was 22 percent.

Fewer children are being exposed to second-hand smoke in their homes. For children aged 0-17 years, the exposure rate declined from 27 percent in 2000 to 20 percent in 2002.

"The reduction in the rates of teen smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke in homes is very positive," said Minister Ballem. "This suggests that the work of the PEI Tobacco Reduction Alliance (PETRA) in collaborating the efforts of a number of sectors including health, education, non-government organizations and the research community is helping to address this major health issue."

"While we still have higher than Canadian average smoking rates for young adults aged 20 to 24 years, by targeting teens and children now, we can help reduce the rate of smoking in this next age group and the future adult population in general," explained Minister Ballem. "The Smoke-Free Places Act which came into effect on June 1 will help to further reduce exposure to second-hand smoke and support those smokers who are trying to quit."

The Department is a partner and supporter of the PEI Tobacco Reduction Alliance (PETRA) and the implementation of its Tobacco Reduction Use Strategy on Prince Edward Island.

Data for the Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey were collected between February and December 2002. The sample size was approximately 2,000 for PEI and 23,000 for Canada. The confidence intervals of data for both sexes 15 years and over were +/- 2.3 percent for PEI and +/- 0.8 percent for Canada as a whole. More information on the Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey can be found on the Health Canada's "Go Smoke Free" Web site at www.gosmokefree.ca

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Media Contact: Connie McNeill
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