Fewer than a fifth smoke cigarettes in Ontario

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Fewer than a fifth smoke cigarettes in Ontario

Half never have, a third have quit, mostly cold turkey 

TORONTO December 20th, 2014 – In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll among 1058 Ontarians, just fewer than one fifth say they currently smoke cigarettes (18%), one third say they used to but have since quit (35%) while close to half have never smoked (47%). Incidence of being a current smoker is highest among the youngest (23%), Gen X (45 to 54 - 22%), the less wealthy (less than $20K - 26%, $20K to $40K - 23%), mid income groups ($60K to $80K - 23%) but not among the wealthiest (12%), in northern Ontario (22%) and the least educated (26%), but not among the most educated (post grad - 9%). Incidence of having smoked but quit is most common among the oldest (47%) and low income groups ($20K to $40K - 42%). Never having smoked cigarettes is most characteristic of the youngest (55%), the wealthiest (51%), provincial Liberals (51%), the best educated (68%), evangelical Christians (66%) and non-Christians (53%).

Almost all smokers have tried repeatedly but unsuccessfully to quit 

Three quarters of the current smokers in Ontario have tried to quit several times (74%), one sixth have tried repeatedly (15%) for a total of 9-in-10 who haven't been able to quit (90%).  Just one tenth have never tried quitting (10%). 

Most hope they will quit soon

Close to two thirds of current smokers are likely to quit smoking for good (they hope) in the next tear (61%), and this includes one third who are "very likely" (32%). Just one twentieth think they are very unlikely to quit for good this year (6%).

Most who have quit did it cold turkey

Two thirds of those who smoked once but do so no longer quit smoking through will-power and cold turkey (64%), while few primarily used the patch (6%), electronic cigarettes (4%), nicotine gum or spray (3%), or counselling and support (2%). As many as one fifth have used some other method (17%) and these may include hypnotism and acupuncture, etc. The patch was used most in Eastern Ontario, among New Democrats, among the least educated. Electronic cigarettes were most likely to be used by Green Party voters.

“Smoking used to be characteristic of one quarter and it has been declining for years. However, among the hard core still starting smoking, and still continuing to smoke, quitting is an elusive goal, and is apparently only achieved through hard work,” said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.

Lorne Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Forum Research. He can be reached at lbozinoff@forumresearch.com or at (416) 960-9603.