Success Quitting Smoking Depends On Early Preparation
TORONTO, Dec. 20 /CNW/ - Smokers have many reasons for smoking, but the
reasons for quitting outweigh them all, says Health Promotion Minister
"A New Year's resolution is a great way for Ontarians to quit smoking,
but it is important that they prepare themselves properly," said Best. "Many
smokers feel that quitting is one of the hardest things to do. That is why we
want to get the word out now that there are steps they can take such as
developing a personalized quit plan and talking to a doctor to improve their
chances of quitting successfully."
Every year, half of all Canadian smokers try to quit, and more than
3.8 million Ontarians are already former smokers. Those who resolve to quit
for the New Year will be much more successful if they start preparing now by
getting the information and support they need to develop a quit plan.
"Most people quitting for the first time try to do it on their own - they
go cold turkey," said Peter Selby, Clinical Director of Addictions Program and
Head of the Nicotine Dependence Clinic at CAMH. "If that does not work, there
are other options such as counselling, medication and self-help. No matter
which method you choose, staying with the process is very important to
eventually quit for good."
"We understand how difficult it is to quit smoking," says Peter Goodhand,
CEO, Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario). "We want people who are trying to quit
to know that they're not alone in their resolution. By contacting our free and
confidential Smokers' Helpline service, they'll get the support they need to
help them keep their goal of remaining smoke-free."
The Canadian Cancer Society's Smokers' Helpline offers advice,
information and support by phone at 1-877-513-5333 or online at
www.smokershelpline.ca to help develop a personalized quit plan. You can also
talk to your doctor, nurse practitioner, health promoter or pharmacist to find
out about smoking cessation resources in your neighbourhood.
Here are some ways to get started.
Understand why you smoke: Recognize the reasons why you smoke so that
when you decide to quit, you're prepared. Write down your reasons for smoking
and for quitting. Think of things like: self-image, health, how you cope,
finances, and social life. Think about what makes them important.
Break other habits: Once you figure out why you smoke, you'll be able to
recognize trigger situations and then you can change those situations. For
example, if you're used to a cup of coffee with your cigarette, drink tea
Make a commitment to quit: First, you have to believe you have it in you.
Then tell your friends and family that quitting is important to you and that
you need their support and help.
Do a test run: Before you're able to quit, you need to start thinking
like a non-smoker version of you. Take small action steps to prepare yourself
for the big step - delay your first cigarette of the day or cut down on the
amount you smoke.
Set a date to quit: Give some thought to where you'll be and what you'll
be doing at that time. Pick a date that is relatively routine and mark it on
your calendar. You're much more likely to quit if it's written down.
Expect changes: Anticipate and resist temptation and cravings. Avoid
situations that give you the urge to smoke. Do something you enjoy to pass the
time. And expect some changes. In the early stages you may feel agitated or
experience trouble sleeping as your body adjusts to nicotine withdrawal, but
your blood pressure will return to normal and so will your senses of taste and
Staying smoke-free: Quitting is quite an accomplishment. A small slip or
two isn't a big deal. Just try to battle any negative thoughts you have with
positive ones - for example, think about what you can do with the money you
will be saving.
Get physical: Physical activity makes you feel good and can help your
body recover from the negative effects of smoking. Use the stairs instead of
the elevator, take the dog for a walk or do another physical activity that you
Make healthy food choices: Many people think that they will gain weight
if they become a non-smoker. Drink a lot of water and eat healthy snacks such
as fruits and vegetables.
Most people quitting for the first time try to do it on their own (also
known as "cold turkey"). And while it may work for some people, there are many
other options available. If one strategy doesn't work, don't give up. Try
another one, or even a combination of strategies.
Here are some alternatives to quitting cold turkey.
Self-help: Pamphlets, booklets and online programs can help you develop
your own quit plan.
Counselling: Trained health professionals can work with you to develop
the skills you need to quit. This could be done one-on-one, in a group, over
the phone or online at sites like smokershelpline.ca.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT): Considered an effective treatment
with few side effects, NRT may help control withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
NRT is available as a patch, chewing gum or an inhaler. Be sure to consult
your healthcare provider before using NRT if you suffer from heart disease,
are pregnant or are on psychiatric medication. NRT products bearing a drug
identification number are currently exempt from the provincial retail sales
Prescription medication: Medical professionals can advise you on other
treatments that lessen nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms by activating
chemicals in your brain normally stimulated by nicotine.
The Ministry of Health Promotion was established in June 2005 to improve
and deliver programs that contribute to healthy living and wellness in this
province. Key priorities include Ontario's smoke-free strategy, healthy
eating, active living, sport and recreation, injury prevention and mental
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For further information:
For further information: Rick Byun, Minister's Office, (416) 326-8497;
Julie Rosenberg, Ministry of Health Promotion, Communications Branch, (416)