Grade 6, 7 and 8 students from all over the country are being asked some tough questions about their bad habits today.

Steve Manske with the Youth Smoking Survey explains they’re trying to find out how many kids are smoking, drinking, and doing drugs; and if so, why.

“We ask both questions that have to do with usage, like how frequently students use different forms of tobacco like cigarettes and cigarillos and the same kinds of questions about alcohol and drug use.”

“We also ask questions that help people who would use the data to plan programs and policies with things that affect those levels of use,” he adds.

Manske notes results from two years ago found while cigarette use was going down, an alarming number of students were attracted to little cigars called cigarillos. “We also noticed that in spite of legislation that restricts companies from using flavoured tobaccos, most students still use them when they’re smoking.”

“That’s really unfortunate because the best efforts that we have include taxation and legislation of how things are marketed in combination with prevention programs in schools. There are deliberate efforts on the part of the industry to get around some of the regulations that are in place,” he tells us.

The survey is funded by Health Canada.

Roughly 50,000 students from more than 400 schools will be participating. Students require their permission from a parent or guardian to take part.