P.A. area students report high smoking rate

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Students in and around Prince Albert say they smoke cigarettes at a higher rate than other Saskatchewan youth.

The data comes from the SAYCW Youth Health Survey, a questionnaire given to nearly 9,000 students in grades 7 to 12 across Saskatchewan in 2015. Province-wide results were released in December 2016. In a multi-part series, the Herald is publishing previously unreleased data provided by more than 2,000 students within the boundaries of the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region.

The answers provide a snapshot into the lives of young people in Prince Albert and neighbouring communities.

Only about 350 students in the health region opted to answer questions on their substance use. Of them, about 38 said they have ever smoked cigarettes. Twenty-five per cent said they had done so in the past month. For the province as a whole, the rate was 21 per cent lifetime use and 12 per cent over the previous month.

A large proportion of students also reported using alcohol, but the rate is exactly the same as that found province-wide. Thirty-two per cent of students surveyed said they’d had at least one drink of alcohol in the past month.

The questionnaire also asked students about binge drinking. For both the province and the health region, 21 per cent of students said that, at some point over the past month, they’d consumed five or more drinks in one sitting.

For more on this story, see the June 2 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.