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More people quitting tobacco with practice and support

Aug 06, 2014
People often say that quitting tobacco is the hardest thing they have ever done or tried to do. It can take many attempts before finally becoming tobacco free. But people are quitting every day, and so can you. In our region there are now more people who have quit successfully than there are people who still smoke.

People often say that quitting tobacco is the hardest thing they have ever done or tried to do. It can take many attempts before finally becoming tobacco free. But people are quitting every day, and so can you. In our region there are now more people who have quit successfully than there are people who still smoke.

Statistics from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey indicate that only one in five adults in our area report that they smoke. This is a decrease that brings our smoking rate in line with the rest of the province after many years of having a higher rate.

There is more promising news from the Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (RRFSS), conducted monthly to assess health behaviours among our residents. RRFSS data shows that in 2013 almost half of all adults who smoked reported they had made an attempt to stop smoking for at least one day.

Becoming tobacco free is not just about finding the willpower to quit – it is about overcoming an addiction to nicotine, the addictive component in tobacco. Fortunately, treatment options for tobacco addiction have improved greatly over the years. If you haven’t tried to quit in a while, you may find it different this time around!

There is no single method for quitting that works for everyone, so be sure to discuss the available options with your health care provider and determine what method is best suited for you.  Recent research suggests that Mondays may be the most successful day to attempt quitting, when our motivation is highest. So consider re-committing to quitting and staying quit every Monday!

One new product – electronic cigarettes or e-cigs – is now widely available and often promoted as a support for quitting. The reality is that there is no proof to these claims. While research is underway, more studies are needed before the safety and effectiveness of these products, as aids for quitting tobacco, can be determined.

Until there is scientific proof, stick with the many supports that have been tested and approved to help you quit smoking. This includes nicotine replacement therapies, prescription medications, and/or cessation counseling in a range of formats. 

Here are a few of the ways you can get support in our area:

  • The Health Unit offers a three-hour STOP Smoking Workshop for adults, including counseling and a free supply of nicotine replacement therapy;
  • One-on-one cessation counseling is available from a Public Health Nurse for pregnant women and families with children up to the age of six;
  • Your health care provider can support your efforts at quitting;  
  • Doctors and nurse practitioners belonging to Family Health Teams can also provide eligible people with free nicotine replacement therapy and support; and
  • Smokers’ Helpline offers free one-on-one quit coaching – call 1-877-513-5333 or register at smokershelpline.ca.

For more information about programs and supports to help you quit smoking, call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, connect with us on Facebook or Twitter, or visit simcoemuskokahealth.org/Topics/Tobacco/ThinkingAboutQuitting.aspx.

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Dr. Simon is one of Simcoe Muskoka’s associate medical officers of health.


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