Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut April 03, 2018 - 10:30 am

Inuit men, women likely to smoke for different reasons: StatCan

Education, adequate housing offer protection from getting hooked on tobacco

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
A new Statistics Canada points to some of the risk factors for Inuit men and Inuit women who smoke, to hopefully come up with more targeted tobacco cessation and prevention programs. (FILE PHOTO)
A new Statistics Canada points to some of the risk factors for Inuit men and Inuit women who smoke, to hopefully come up with more targeted tobacco cessation and prevention programs. (FILE PHOTO)

A new Statistics Canada study on Inuit Nunangat has found that there are gender-specific differences between Inuit men and Inuit women in the way that they smoke tobacco.

If you are an Inuk man and a high-school graduate, you’re less likely to be a smoker, and you have “significantly lower odds of smoking” if you live in a higher-income household.

If you’re an Inuk woman, the same holds true, but if you also live in a home where everyone gets enough to eat, you’re also less likely to be a smoker.

These are among the results of the StatCan study released last week.

For their study, researchers used information gathering during the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey, which included responses from 2,614 Inuit—1,263 men and 1,351 women.

About seven per cent resided in Nunatsiavut, 22 per cent in Nunavik, 62 per cent in Nunavut, and nine per cent in the Inuvialuit Region.

The researchers found that for all those included in the study, living in crowded conditions or in a home where a regular smoker was present were risk factors for smoking among Inuit of both sexes.

A risk factor specific to Inuit women smoking was having personally attended a residential school.

Findings from this study will hopefully identify some of the protective and risk factors for smoking among this population and can help inform smoking prevention and cessation programs, the researchers said.

The study looked at smoking in the context of labour force status, participation in traditional activities, education, household income, crowding, presence of a regular smoker in the home, strength of family ties, food security, diagnosed mood and anxiety conditions, heavy drinking and residential school experiences.

In 2012, about six in 10, or 63 per cent, of Inuit aged 15 or older in Inuit Nunangat reported smoking cigarettes daily, compared with 16 per cent of the overall Canadian population.

For adults, that figure was even higher, with about seven in 10 smoking: 75 per cent of adult Inuit men and 74 per cent of adult Inuit women reported that they smoked cigarettes either daily or occasionally.

That’s although smoking remains a big and expensive habit across the North, in 2015 costing the average Nunavut smoker more than $6,000 a year.

The results of the high smoking rate in Nunavut mean that lung cancer, in most cases caused by tobacco use, is three times the national average.

The Government of Nunavut has asked Nunavut residents to do their part in preventing tobacco addiction by becoming aware of what programs are available to help themselves and their family members reduce their reliance on tobacco products.

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