The Youth Smoking Survey is Canada's only national survey of student smoking
Funded by Health Canada, it was created to study the factors that increase and diminish the likelihood of tobacco use among youth.
Adolescents are the most vulnerable population subset to start smoking, with 85% of current smokers starting by age 19. The average age at which students smoke their first whole cigarette is 11. Reliable data on the prevalence of youth tobacco use is critical to assessing the need for increased legislative controls, and bolstering support for these policy options. Without this type of monitoring, the effectiveness of our prevention efforts cannot be gauged.
For participating schools, YSS provides value in the form of a tailored smoking profile detailing school smoking rates and related behaviours along with information on planning effective interventions.
The Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo coordinates the implementation of the YSS nationally and provincial partners implementing the YSS in each province. Propel has a reputation for conducting high quality research in a way that minimizes impact on school personnel and students. The Principal Investigator for the YSS is Steve Manske, EdD.
YSS was first administered in 1994 and was the largest and most comprehensive survey on youth smoking behaviour since 1979. The YSS was repeated in 2002, 2004/2005, 2006/2007, 2008/2009 and most recently in 2010/2011. Click here to view past results from the YSS.