Canadian teens biggest pot smokers in North America/Europe: report

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Vancouver Global Marijuana March 2015 (Danny Kresnyak)

More Canadian students in Grades 9 and 10 smoke pot than anywhere else in North America or Europe, according to a new study by the World Health Organization.

The study, which looked at health behaviours of schoolchildren in 44 countries in 2014, found one in five Canadian Grade 9 and 10 students had used pot over a 12 month period.

It also found more Canadian Grade 9 and 10 students had tried cannabis before the age of 13 than anywhere else in the world, with around 7% inhaling at an early age.

However, the study says, despite leading the world in lighting up, cannabis use by Canadian Grade 9 and 10 students is actually the lowest its ever been in the past 20 years. While 23% of the students asked in 2014 reported having tried cannabis, back in 1994 that figure was 30% for boys and 27% of girls.

Marijuana use among Canadian Grade 9 and 10 students seems to have peaked in 2002, when half of all boys reported trying pot, alongside 40% of girls.

Figure 13.16 Grade 9 and 10 students who reported that they had tried cannabis, by gender and year of survey (%) (healthycanadians.gc.ca)

Grade 9 and 10 students who reported that they had tried cannabis, by gender and year of survey (%) (healthycanadians.gc.ca)

Meanwhile, the study found, cannabis use comes second place to alcohol consumption among Canadian students – although drunkenness too is declining. And while cigarette smoking among schoolchildren is also down, E-cigarettes are emerging as a new option for students, with one in five students having tried them.

The student survey was carried out with 29,784 young people in 377 Canadian schools, and includes data from all 10 Canadian provinces and all three Canadian territories.

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