Health Professionals

Why is LTPB Needed on Campus?

More than 1 in 4 young adults smoke1

(this is the highest smoking prevalence of all age groups)

Half of young adults are in school2

(View Ontario statistics)

Smoking initiation and escalation occurs among college/university students:

  • 19% of current smokers began smoking regularly after arriving on campus3
  • 10% of post-secondary smokers had their first cigarette after the age of 194,5
  • 10% of non-smoking students intend to start smoking6
  • most post-secondary students over-estimate how many of their peers smoke7
  • See also8, 9, 10

Nicotine is among the most addictive drugs known, and even occasional smokers can become life-long smokers:

  • among young adults who have ever smoked but are not currently established (daily) smokers, approximately 54% are at risk for smoking in the future11
  • among established smokers – including those who are trying to quit (i.e., have been smokefree for less than 1 year) approximately 86% are at risk for future smoking11


  • stress associated with the transition to and experiences of college/university life may magnify the risk of smoking uptake and escalation 12-14
  • intensive tobacco marketing strategies targeting this population may also escalate tobacco consumption of post-secondary students15-17
  • experimentation with recreational drugs peaks in mid-adolescence, but the risk period for smoking onset/escalation and overuse of alcohol extends into the early 20s 18-20

Young adult smokers on college and university campuses represent a sizable and definable population with which to intervene around smoking. Most post-secondary smokers want to quit, and make repeated quit attempts21. Appealing, accessible smoking cessation strategies that reach a wide audience and assist smokers to quit are needed on post-secondary campuses.

Ontario Statistics

According to the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, there are more than 391,790 full-time undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in Ontario’s 20 universities. Using data obtained from individual college campus sites, approximately 207,016 were enrolled in 24 of Ontario’s colleges.


1 CTUMS (2008). Health Canada’s Tobacco Control Programme. Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey: Smoking Prevalence 1999-2008

Ottawa: Government of Canada; 2009. Accessed September 29th 2009.

2 AUCC (2008). Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. Fall 2008 preliminary full-time and part-time enrolment at AUCC member institutions. Accessed September 29th 2009.

3 Rigotti N, Lee JE, Wechsler H (2000). US college students’ use of tobacco products: results of a national survey. JAMA, 284, 699-705.

4 Everett S, Husten C, Kann L, Warren C, Sharp D, Crossett L (1999). Smoking initiation and smoking patterns among US college students. Journal of American College Health, 48, 55-60.

5 Cairney, J. & Lawrance, K.G. (2002). Smoking on campus. An examination of smoking behaviours among post-secondary students in Canada. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 93, 313-316.

6 DeBernardo R, Aldinger C, Dawood O, Hanson R, Lee S, Rinaldi S (1999). An e-mail assessment of undergraduates’ attitudes toward smoking. Journal of American College Health, 48, 61-66.

7 Page, R (1998). College students’ distorted perception of the prevalence of smoking. Psychological Reports, 82, 474.

8 Wetter, D.W., Kenford, S.L., Welsh, S.K., Smith, S.S., Fouladi, R.T., Fiore, M.C. & Baker, T.B. (2004) Prevalence and predictors of smoking behavior among college students. Health Psychology, Vol. 23, No. 2, 168-177 [Abstract]

9 Lantz P, Jacobson P, Warner K, et al. (2000). Investing in youth tobacco control: a review of smoking prevention and control strategies. Tobacco Control, 9, 47-63.

10 Moskal P, Dziuban C, West G (1999). Examining the use of tobacco on college campuses. Journal of American College Health, 47, 260-265.

11 Gilpin E, White V, Pierce J (2005). What fraction of young adults are at risk for future smoking, and who are they? Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 7, 747-759.

12 Steptoe A, Wardle J, Plooard T, Canaan L, Davies G (1996). Stress, social support and health-related behavior: a study of smoking, alcohol consumption and physical exercise. Journal of Psychomotor Research, 41, 171-180.

13 Lenz, B (2004). Tobacco, Depression, and Lifestyle Choices in the Pivotal Early College Years. Journal of American College Health, 52, 213-219.

14 Naquin M, Gilbert G (1996). College students’ smoking behavior, perceived stress, and coping styles. Journal of Drug Education 26, 367-377.

15 Ling P, Glantz S (2002). Why and How the Tobacco Industry Sells Cigarettes to Young Adults: Evidence From Industry Documents. American Journal of Public Health, 92, 908-916.

16 Sepe E, Ling P, Glantz, S (2002). Smooth Moves: Bar and Nightclub Tobacco Promotions That Target Young Adults. American Journal of Public Health, 92, 414-419.

17 Rigotti N, Moran S, Wechsler H (2005). US College Students’ Exposure to Tobacco Promotions: Prevalence and Association With Tobacco Use. American Journal of Public Health, 95, 138-144.

18 DeWit D, Offord R., Wong, M (1997). Patterns of onset and cessation of drug use over the early part of the life course. Health Education & Behavior, 24, 746–758.

19 Emmons KM, Wechsler H, Dowdall G, Abraham M (1998). Predictors of smoking among US college students. American Journal of Public Health, 88, 104-107.

20 Sax L (1997). Health trends among college freshmen. Journal of American College Health, 45, 252–262.

21 Patterson, F, Lerman C, Kaufmann V, Neuner G, Audrain-McGovern, J (2004). Cigarette Smoking Practices Among American College Students: Review and Future Directions.  Journal of American College Health, 52, 203-210.

Health Professionals
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