Peel Smoking Rate Down, but Burden Still Immense

Peel Smoking Rate Down, but Burden Still Immense

A new report released Thursday by Peel Public Health revealed that while smoking rates have declined over the last 10 years, tobacco use is still a significant cause of poor health and death in Peel.

Smoking rates declined from 20 per cent in 2000 to 15 percent in 2010. Every year, smoking causes 3,300 hospitalizations, 689 deaths and 4,700 years of life lost for Peel residents. The hospitalization costs alone for treating tobacco-related diseases sit between $50 and $100 million annually.

“The health consequences of smoking place a dramatic burden on smokers, their families and the health-care system,” said Dr. David Mowat, Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Peel. “A reduction of five percentage points in Peel’s smoking rate from 15 per cent to 10 would result in 60 fewer deaths every year and save the health-care system close to $6 million annually.”

The report shows that Peel smokers want to quit. In the past year, more than half (88,000) of the 167,700 smokers in Peel tried to stop smoking for a 24-hour period and on average, made four quit attempts in the previous 12 months. Approximately 85 per cent of those who successfully quit smoking used Buproprion, a drug to help smokers quit.

Overall, smoking rates are twice as high for males as females in most age groups, with the highest rates reaching close to one in three for men aged 20-29. The risk factor most strongly associated with smoking is being exposed to a smoker at home. However, other factors associated with smoking include: having an education level of high school or less; Caucasian ethnicity; Canadian born; common-law, separated or divorced martial status; and physical inactivity. Non-smokers continue to be exposed to second hand smoke in a wide range of settings, including homes (eight per cent), vehicles (seven per cent) and public places (14 per cent).

“Although smoking rates have declined significantly over the years, there is still work to be done to improve the overall health of our population,” continued Dr. Mowat. “Peel Public Health will continue to focus its tobacco prevention work in several key areas, including providing support to family physicians in their efforts to help smokers quit, developing a by-law to prohibit smoking in outdoor places on municipal properties, and addressing the high prevalence of smoking among those aged 12-29, particularly white males.”

Living Tobacco Free is a key priority in Peel Regional Council’s 10-year strategic plan. This report, entitled The Burden of Tobacco: The Use and Consequences of Tobacco in Peel, provides key information to support this priority.

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