A new study shows mixed results when it comes to tobacco use in Peel Region.

The report released Thursday by Peel Public Health revealed that while smoking rates have declined over the last decade, tobacco use is still a significant cause of poor health and death in the region.

Every year, the hospitalization costs for treating tobacco-related diseases sit between $50-100 million.

“The health consequences of smoking place a dramatic burden on smokers, their families and the health-care system,” said Dr. David Mowat, medical officer of health for the Region of Peel.

“A reduction of five percentage points in Peel’s smoking rate from 15 per cent to 10 would result in 60 fewer deaths every year and save the health-care system close to $6 million annually,” Mowat said.

The report shows that Peel smokers want to quit. In the past year, more than half (88,000) of the 167,700 smokers in Peel tried to stop smoking for a 24-hour period and on average, made four quit attempts in the
previous 12 months. Approximately 85 per cent of those who successfully quit smoking used Buproprion, a drug to help smokers quit.

Overall, smoking rates are twice as high for males as females in most age groups, with the highest rates reaching close to one in three for men aged 20-29. The risk factor most strongly associated with smoking is being exposed to a smoker at home. However, other factors associated with smoking include: having an education level of high school or less; Caucasian ethnicity; Canadian born; common-law, separated or divorced martial status; and physical inactivity. Non-smokers continue to be exposed to second hand smoke in a wide range of settings, including homes (eight per cent), vehicles (seven percent) and public places (14 per cent).