Over the years, specific efforts have been made to reach young people so that, on the one hand, they do not become tobacco-dependent, and on the other hand, they stop smoking. Several interventions have been developed specifically for them, as for example the youth coalition against smoking, the De Facto campaign, and the iQuitnow Website for adolescents. The few data available suggest that smoking cessation services such as the quit smoking centres, and the iQuitnow telephone helpline and Web site attract few adolescents (Montreuil, 2012; Tremblay and Roy, 2013), which is not at all surprising, since young people say that their favoured means for quitting smoking is to do it alone or with a friend (Dubé et al., 2009; Kischuck et al., 2004). According to the most recent data of the Québec Survey on Smoking, Alcohol, Drugs and Gambling in High School Students collected in 2008, close to six young smokers in ten reported having tried to quit smoking during the year preceding the survey (Dubé et al., 2009). Adolescents therefore want to quit smoking and they may perhaps have been influenced by the various media campaigns and measures on quitting smoking that have been deployed.
In such a context, and because more recent survey data are now available (2010–2011 Youth Smoking Survey), it seemed important to us to investigate whether the students' attempts to quit smoking had evolved in recent years, as a confirmation of the important changes in social standards now promoting the non-use of tobacco in Québec. We were also interested in the students' attempts to quit smoking based on the number of cigarettes smoked in their lifetimes and the fact they considered themselves to be smokers.