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Substance Use - Statistics in Niagara

Alcohol, tobacco and cannabis are the most commonly used substances in Niagara by both youth and adults. Each year, more people go to the emergency department because of drinking alcohol than cannabis or tobacco use. During pregnancy, tobacco is the substance that is most commonly used. Cannabis has been used by a high percentage of youth before driving. Using any of these substances can become addicting.

This section contains data for the use of:

Alcohol Consumption

In Niagara, alcohol is the most common drug being consumed.

Overall, 45% of grade 7 and 8 students, and 73% of secondary students have had at least a sip of alcohol in the past year. One-third of secondary students who have drank alcohol tried it for the first time while in elementary school.

In those aged 12 and over, 59% are considered to be regular drinkers. This means that they drink once a month or more.

Hazardous drinking is a pattern of drinking that can lead to a greater chance of medical problems in the future. Harmful drinking is a pattern of drinking that is already damaging the health of the individuals. In Niagara, 14% of secondary students are drinking alcohol in a hazardous or harmful way. In addition to this, 44% of adults have exceeded the Low Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines for chronic disease or injuries. Those aged 19-44 were the most common age group to exceed the guidelines.

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Alcohol and Driving

Overall, 4% of secondary students who have a license and 5% of adult drivers have driven within an hour of drinking 2 or more drinks in the past year.

Tobacco and E-Cigarette Use

In Niagara, 21% of secondary students have used cigarettes in the past year. One-fifth of secondary students who have tried smoking a cigarette tried it for the first time while in elementary school. In Niagara, 8% of secondary students and 16% of adults are daily smokers. Adults aged 45-64 and adults who had less than a secondary school education were most likely to be daily smokers.

Thirty percent of adults in Niagara used to smoke, but have quit. Adults 45+ are most likely to be former smokers. In addition, 37% of adults have never smoked in their life. Adults 20-44 years were most likely to have never smoked cigarettes.

In Niagara, 25% of secondary students have used an e-cigarette in the past 12 months. Seven percent of adults have used an e-cigarette at least once.

Second-hand Smoke

Second-hand smoke is common in Niagara. Thirty-one percent of grade 7 and 8 students and 56% of secondary students report second-hand exposure on a weekly basis. In addition, 4% of those aged 12+ report they are exposed to second-hand smoke every day or almost every day in a car or other private vehicle, 14% report they are exposed to second-hand smoke every day or almost every day in public places, and 8% report they are exposed to second-hand smoke every day or almost every day at work or school.

Cannabis Use

Overall, 35% of secondary students have used cannabis at least once in the past year. Just under one-third of secondary students who have used cannabis tried it for the first time while in elementary school, while another third tried it for the first time in grade 9.

In the past year, 12% of those aged 12 and over have used cannabis at least once.

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Cannabis and Driving

Overall, 10% of secondary students who have a license have driven within an hour of using marijuana or hashish in the past year.

Pregnancy and Substance Use

See substance use during pregnancy statistics for information on alcohol, tobacco and cannabis use during pregnancy.

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