Health Reports: Smoking among Inuit men and women in Inuit Nunangat

March 21, 2018

Lung cancer is a growing public health concern among Inuit. While rates of daily smoking have been decreasing among this population since 1991, the overall prevalence of smoking among Inuit remains relatively high, especially in Inuit Nunangat. Smoking is linked to more than two dozen diseases and conditions including lung cancer, respiratory illnesses and cardiovascular disease.

A new study released today in the publication Health Reports explores some of the characteristics that may be associated with smoking among Inuit living in Inuit Nunangat. This study was guided by an Inuit-specific framework for social determinants of health. Understanding who is at higher risk of smoking among Inuit would inform the development of culturally appropriate cessation and prevention programs.

Based on the most recent data from the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey, the study found that about three-quarters of Inuit adults in Inuit Nunangat reported that they smoked cigarettes either daily or occasionally.

The study found that, for women, having personally attended a residential school was associated with higher odds of smoking.

Socioeconomic factors also played a role. Inuit men and women had lower odds of smoking if they were high school graduates. The odds of smoking for Inuit men and women who had a high school diploma were about half (0.53 and 0.47 respectively) the odds for Inuit men and women without a diploma. For women, the odds of smoking were also lower for those with postsecondary education or for those living in food-secure households. Among Inuit men, the odds of smoking were lower for those living in higher-income households. Living in crowded conditions or in a home where a regular smoker was present were risk factors for smoking among Inuit of both sexes.

Further studies will help shed light on whether these correlations persist over time using the 2017 Aboriginal Peoples Survey, scheduled to be released later this year.


Smoking correlates among Inuit men and women in Inuit Nunangat” is now available in the March 2018 online issue of Health Reports, Vol. 29, no. 3 (Catalogue number82-003-X).

This issue of Health Reports also contains the article “Prevalence of chronic pain among individuals with neurological conditions.”

Contact information

To enquire about “Smoking correlates among Inuit men and women in Inuit Nunangat,” contact Evelyne Bougie (, Health Analysis Division.

To enquire about “Prevalence of chronic pain among individuals with neurological conditions,” contact Jacquelyn Cragg (, the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD).

For more information about the publication Health Reports, contact Janice Felman (613-799-7746;, Health Analysis Division.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136514-283-8300;


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