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Smoking and Vaping

Quitting

Talk to a public health nurse for help quitting smoking or vaping.
Call our Health Connection line at 705-721-7520 or toll free at 1-877-721-7520.
Every attempt brings you closer to quitting for good!

Quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do to protect your health. Quitting can prevent serious health issues like cancers, heart attacks, strokes, COPD, and other diseases caused, or made worse, by smoking and other commercial tobacco use.

Benefits of quitting

  • If you stop smoking before the onset of irreversible heart and circulatory disease, your body will begin to repair itself. Repair begins almost immediately.
  • 20 MINUTES after quitting your blood pressure improves and your pulse rate returns to normal.
  • 2 WEEKS - within a few weeks your energy levels increase and your circulation begins to improve.
  • 3 MONTHS coughing and wheezing disappear.
  • 1 YEAR your risk of heart attack decreases 50 per cent.
  • AFTER 5 YEARS smoke-free, your stroke risk is cut in half.

Plan your quit!

When you decide to make a quit attempt, you're not alone. Most people who smoke would like to quit. But it's important to have realistic expectations. It usually takes more than one try to quit smoking.

If you fail, that's okay! Failing is good - it means you are trying. Keep your chin up if you slip - every attempt brings you one step closer to quitting for good.

There's a good chance if you smoke regularly that you will go through withdrawal when you stop, and you will have to fight powerful urges.

The sections below provide tips and information to help you plan your quit and reduce the urges or cravings you experience during your quit.

1.  Write down the reasons you want to quit smoking. Post the list in many places in your home, on your fridge, computer monitor, in your car, etc.

2.  Think about what situations trigger your urge to smoke and plan ways to manage them. For example, you may need to stay away from places where you usually smoke.

3.  Plan ahead for when the inevitable urge for a cigarette strikes. For example, keep healthy snacks on hand, or plan to go for a brisk walk or do relaxation exercises to ride out the craving.

4.  Remove items that remind you of smoking. Make your home and car smoke free. Remove lighters, ashtrays, and cigarette packs.

5.  Clean clothes, pillows, curtains, and other items that smell like smoke.

6.  Tell your friends and family about your plan to quit and ask them for support.

7.  Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist to see if using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or other quit smoking medications is right for you. When used appropriately, these products reduce cravings and increase the chance of success.

Local supports to help you quit and provide no cost NRT can be found in the 'Help to quit' section below.

Ready to quit? Get information, counselling, and no cost nicotine replacement therapies. Find the supports in your community:

More information on quit smoking medication can be found in the next section.

Nicotine replacement therapies or NRT help control cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms. Using NRT can double your chances of quitting for good.

There are many safe forms of NRT. You don't need a prescription and if you have a drug benefit plan through work, your plan may help with the cost. No cost NRT may also be available from the health unit or community supports. See the 'Help to quit' section above for more information.

The following videos show the types of NRT products and how to use them:

There are also prescription medications that can help you quit. Talk to your health care provider about these options. The cost may be covered by workplace drug benefit plans, OHIP+, or Ontario Drug Benefit, among others. 

Many setbacks happen within the first three months of quitting and are caused by triggers such as a stressful event. It's hard to prepare yourself for these situations, but you can get through them smoke-free. The 4Ds can help!

  • Delay smoking. In a few minutes, the craving will pass.
  • Deep breathe.
  • Drink water.
  • Distract yourself. Do something different to take your mind off smoking.

Week 1 Tips

  • Take each day by the hour. Each smoke-free hour is a win. Looking too far ahead and thinking about never smoking again may seem hard. Focusing on small wins will let you have more successes each hour.
  • Trick your brain by swapping a cigarette with another item to keep your hands and mouth busy. Try sucking on a straw, chewing on a toothpick, holding a pen, or playing with a fidget toy.

Week 2 Tips

  • Keep swapping cigarettes for other things when cravings hit. Drink water, chew sugarless gum, or use hard candies. You can also try chewing on celery or carrot sticks.

Week 3 Tips

  • When you see someone smoking, congratulate yourself for not doing the same.
  • Focus on doing things you like to do, like walking, gardening, and playing with your children or grandchildren with more energy.
  • You are a role model: picture young people you care about copying your smoke-free life.

Week 4 Tips

  • Picture yourself as a non-smoker. Imagine feeling free of the addiction to cigarettes.
  • Celebrate your success so far. Notice positive changes happening because of your quit. Remind yourself of them when you have a craving to smoke.
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