Rodeo "SWAP to STOP" sets up trading post to reduce tobacco use

Health groups encourage rodeo athletes and attendees to take first steps to reduce tobacco use

EDMONTON, May 21, 2013 /CNW/ - Leading health organizations are joining forces for a second year to promote a tobacco-free lifestyle at various rodeos across Alberta this summer and encouraging rodeo goers to "SWAP to STOP" tobacco use. Beginning on May 29, 2013 at the Grande Prairie Stompede, the SWAP to STOP campaign will invite rodeo athletes and attendees to swap their cigarettes and smokeless tobacco for NICORETTE® gum and start going tobacco-free.

Building on the success of the 2012 SWAP to STOP project, which saw more than 4,000 Albertans swap their tobacco last rodeo season, the Lung Association, Alberta & NWT; Canadian Cancer Society (Alberta/NWT); Action on Smoking & Health; McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson and Johnson Inc. (makers of Nicorette®); and, Miss Rodeo Canada are teaming up again with SWAP to STOP booths at rodeos. The booths will be at four rodeo events in Alberta including the Grande Prairie Stompede, the Sundre Rodeo, the Ponoka Stampede, and the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) in Edmonton.

"Becoming tobacco-free is hard to do and often takes between seven and 10 quit attempts before becoming tobacco-free for good," says Kristin Matthews, The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT. "Albertans can up their chances of becoming tobacco-free for good by using some of the incredible resources we have access to across the province. We're encouraging people to visit one of our SWAP to STOP booths to speak to one of our tobacco reduction experts who can provide some quit strategies and really help Albertans find the method that will work for them as they quit."

To help Albertans begin their tobacco-free lives, the SWAP to STOP booths are staffed by local tobacco reduction experts who can provide counselling, information on local and provincial quit programs, and trial offers of NICORETTE® gum to those considering going tobacco-free. Resources are also available to those who are supporting someone they know who is trying to become tobacco-free.

Smokeless tobacco is often misunderstood as less harmful than other tobacco products, and its use is prevalent amongst Albertans. "The use of smokeless tobacco in Alberta is double the national average. In fact, Alberta sales represent about 40 per cent of the total Canadian market," says Les Hagen of Action on Smoking & Health (ASH). "This means that we have more people who are at risk of cancer and other health problems as the result of higher rates of smokeless tobacco use. Nicotine addiction is the fundamental health risk associated with smokeless tobacco use."

"The vast majority of tobacco users start using and become dependent on tobacco products by the age of 18. About 50,000 Alberta youth are current smokers and together they smoke over half a million cigarettes every day," says Angeline Webb, Canadian Cancer Society. " That is why we must do all we can to prevent tobacco use before it starts and support measures that help Alberta youth remain tobacco-free for life."

"We're proud to be a part of the SWAP to STOP program," said John-Paul Dowson, Director Market Access & External Affairs, Johnson & Johnson. "We know that there are physical and emotional aspects when it comes to quitting and nicotine replacement therapy, with a product like NICORETTE®, can double the likelihood of being successful."

Image with caption: "Beginning on May 29, 2013 at the Grande Prairie Stompede, the SWAP to STOP campaign will invite rodeo athletes and attendees to swap their cigarettes and smokeless tobacco for NICORETTE® gum and start going tobacco-free. (CNW Group/The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130521_C8232_PHOTO_EN_26888.jpg

SOURCE: The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT

For further information:

Kristin Matthews, The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT: 403-981-8586 (t)
Angeline Webb, Canadian Cancer Society, Alberta and NWT: 780-437-8423 (t)
Les Hagen, Action on Smoking & Health: 780-919-5546 (t)
Laura Patton, GolinHarris for NICORETTE®: 416-642-7910 (o) / 647-922-0657 (m)

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The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT

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Rodeo Swap to Stop

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