New survey uncovers insights into Ontario tobacco use — Canadian Cancer Society launches sixth annual Driven to Quit Challenge

05 January 2011


Results of an Angus Reid Public Opinion survey[i] conducted in December show that 20% of Ontario adults are current tobacco users, including cigarettes, cigars and chew tobacco, and that half of them have tried unsuccessfully to quit in the past.

This news comes as the Canadian Cancer Society launches the sixth annual Driven to Quit Challenge today together with the Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport. With hundreds of thousands currently trying to break free from their tobacco addiction in Ontario, The Driven to Quit Challenge encourages tobacco users to make a quit attempt for the month of March for their chance to win exciting prizes.

Of those surveyed, one in five (18%) who have tried to quit tobacco — with or without success — attempted to quit more than five times in order to do so and stay tobacco free.

"Since 2006, The Driven to Quit Challenge has inspired more than 130,000 quit attempts," said Martin Kabat, CEO, Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division. "With the 2011 Challenge and increased awareness it brings to cessation support, I’m confident that we’re helping Ontarians find the motivation and the help that they need to quit smoking and improve their health."

Those who stay smoke-free for the month of March are entered to win their choice of a new Honda hybrid, one of two $5,000 CAA vacation getaways and one of seven $2,000 MasterCard gift cards. Each entrant registers with a support buddy, who can qualify to win a buddy prize of a $200 MasterCard gift card.

“Our government is committed to helping Ontarians break the cycle of tobacco addiction. Every attempt to quit is a vital part of this process. That is why we support initiatives such as The Driven to Quit Challenge that encourage smokers to break the cycle of addiction to tobacco,” said Margarett Best, Minister of Health Promotion and Sport.

To register and for details about The Driven to Quit Challenge, Ontarians can go to or call the Canadian Cancer Society Smokers’ Helpline at 1 877 513-5333. Registration is open until February 28, 2011. Early birds who register in January can also qualify to win a $1,000 MasterCard gift card.

Survey highlights:

  • 52% of Ontario adults have used tobacco products (55% of men and 50% of women)
  • 6% of Ontario adults are currently trying to quit tobacco use
  • Ontario adults who have tried to quit or successfully quit tobacco average 3.2 attempts to quit tobacco.
  • Women make more attempts to quit than men, with 36% making more than three attempts, compared to 30% of men
  • 53% of Ontarians would not date a tobacco user

[i] From December 20 to December 21, 2010, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 801 randomly selected Ontario adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error – which measures sampling variability – is +/- 3.46%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, and gender data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Ontario. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About T he Driven to Quit Challenge
The Driven to Quit Challenge
is hosted by the Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division, with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport and generous prize support from McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson Inc. The Driven to Quit Challenge is presented in collaboration with local public health departments across the province.

About Canadian Cancer Society Smokers’ Helpline
Smokers’ Helpline is a free, confidential service that provides personalized support, advice and information about quitting smoking and tobacco use. Operated by the Canadian Cancer Society and funded by the Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport, Smokers’ Helpline has three ways to help Ontarians quit: phone support, online program and text messaging at 1 877 513-5333 and




The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.