In Canada, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is a best practice for adult smoking cessation, but it is not recommended for use among youth smokers. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of NRT use among youth smokers in Canada and examine factors associated with its use.
Data from 41,886, Grade 9-12 students who participated in the 2006-2007 Youth Smoking Survey were used to determine prevalence of NRT use. Logistic regression models were conducted to examine the association between NRT use by smoking status, demographic characteristics, and exposure to tobacco control programs.
In 2006-2007, 20.4% of current and former youth smokers in Canada had ever used NRT and 7.4% were currently using NRT. Among ever and current NRT users, 17.7% and 23.7%, respectively, had never tried to quit smoking. Odds of NRT use were highest among current smokers, older youths, boys, youths who had made multiple quit attempts, and youths with no disposable income. Participation in cessation counseling was significantly associated with increased NRT use, whereas attending antismoking classes in school was inversely associated with using NRT.
A substantial number of Canadian youth use NRT, despite restrictions on its sale to this population. This study identifies characteristics associated with youths using NRT. Research is needed to elucidate mechanisms by which characteristics identified in this study affect NRT use. For example, it may be important to understand whether attending smoking cessation counseling induces NRT use in youths or vice versa.