A number of Canadians are more obese than they would like to admit, although they could be smoking less, according to a new national health survey .
Obesity rates, have however, remained relatively stable at 15.5 per cent.
In the meanwhile, an increased number of non-smokers are victims of passive smoking despite bans on public smoking , although fewer young folks were keen to taking up smoking . 15 per cent of non-smokers , 12 years and above, opined, that they were still regularly exposed to passive smoking in public places.
'This was down from 20 per cent in 2003, but it still represented one out of every seven non-smoking Canadians, or about 3.1 million people,' said StatsCan.
Ontario and Quebec provinces have banned smoking in public places from the end of May, 2006.
On a positive note, the Canadian Community Health Survey found that, in 2005 there was a 1% decline in the overall smoking population compared to 2003. The highest decline was among the 12 to 17 year olds.
'The youth smoking rate has declined because increasing numbers of young people never start to smoke,' StatsCan said in its brief.
CTV's chief medical contributor Dr. Marla Shapiro said this finding is significant.
'Generally if you have not started smoking by 18, it is unusual that adults pick up the habit,' Shapiro told CTV Newsnet.
'So since we know that smoking has a long latency period in terms of diseases like emphysema, chronic obstructive lung, heard disease, it bodes well for the future that we are seeing less teens than ever smoking and taking up the habit.'
Smoking rates in the provinces, in 2005, were below the national average of 22 per cent in British Columbia (18 per cent) and Ontario (21 per cent).
The highest recorded smoking rates were in Nunavut (53 per cent), Northwest Territories (36 per cent) and Yukon (30 per cent).
The survey, conducted on 13,000 Canadians, put forth questions about several health-related topics .
It reported that Quebecers reported the highest level of stress(26%) while Newfoundland and Labrador(15.2%) reported the least in comparison to the national average of 23.2%
5 per cent of the population, suffered from diabetes in 2005 while N 15.5 per cent of Canadians were considered obese .