Catch the Quit! The Canadian Lung Association encourages smokers to re-commit
to quit for World No Tobacco Day

OTTAWA, May 25 /CNW/ - The Canadian Lung Association wants Canadians to tap into their social networks to encourage loved ones to quit smoking together.

Research shows that quitting is contagious -- people are more likely to butt out for good when others in their social circle do the same.(1) To help others catch the quit, The Canadian Lung Association has developed some fun social media tools.

"We're inviting people to "Catch the Quit" by sending out e-cards to either announce their decision to quit or send out to friends, family and co-workers to invite them to quit together," says Heather Borquez, CEO and president of The Canadian Lung Association. "We're also offering a Qwitter Twibbon, a small logo that people can add to their Twitter profile images, to proudly announce that they've quit smoking."

While many smokers may have resolved to quit in January, some may have started smoking again. In fact, the average Canadian attempts to stop smoking six times before quitting for good, according to "Making Quit Happen: Canada's Challenges to Smoking Cessation," a ground-breaking report that The Canadian Lung Association released in 2008.(2) While quitting smoking is never easy, it can be done with a quit plan and the proper support.

"It's common for smokers to quit and start smoking again several times - smokers must overcome a powerful combination of addiction and habit," says Dr. Anna Day, respirologist at Women's College Hospital, professor in the faculty of medicine (division of respirology) at the University of Toronto with a cross-appointment in the department of health policy, management and evaluation, and head of the Gender and Airways Program at Women's College Hospital. "I urge people to work with a health-care professional and build on past learning experiences to help them succeed in the future. World No Tobacco Day on May 31st is the perfect occasion to re-commit to quit."

Quitting is Contagious

A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, sheds light on how one person's decision to "catch the quit" can significantly affect their close friends who smoke. Smokers can be influenced by the quitting behaviour of others in their social circle, including friends, family and co-workers.

Smokers tend to associate with those who have a similar smoking pattern. As a result, one person quitting can greatly impact those around them. If one smoker in a friendship quits, the likelihood that their friend will is 43 per cent.(1) In small companies, if a close co-worker quits, the chances of a colleague also quitting are 34 per cent. But, by far the highest chance of catching the quit is among spouses, with one partner's choice to quit increasing the likelihood of the other's by two-thirds.(1)

George Moffat and his wife, Diane, smoked for over 30 years each. "We've been smoke-free now for about three years," explains George. "Quitting wasn't easy; we tried and failed numerous times. The key to our success was involving our doctor and developing a plan that included quitting together. This allowed us to rely on each other for continued motivation and support. Together we managed to quit, and are now encouraging others to do the same. We couldn't feel better."

Catch the Quit!

As many as 90 per cent of Canadian smokers would like to quit, but as any smoker can tell you, quitting is difficult.(2) Without a plan and the proper support, it can be challenging to break the addiction and habit:

    -  Approximately five million Canadians continue to smoke, and 79 per
       cent of smokers have tried to quit, most of them several times.(3,2)
    -  Nicotine addiction is a chronic, relapsing medical condition meaning
       that an individual continues to re-experience problems associated with
       the addiction.(4,5)
    -  Once a person is addicted, having nicotine in the body feels "normal"
       and going without nicotine is unpleasant.(6)
    -  Habit and addiction are the main reasons cited by current smokers for
       not quitting.(2)

"Smokers benefit from quitting together. There is the inherent support and motivation that comes with a shared experience, and the planning that naturally occurs when coordinating with another person also helps support successful quitting," says Ms. Borquez.

This World No Tobacco Day, renew your commitment to quit smoking for good.

Learn how to quit smoking. (

Find out where to get help to quit smoking. (

Send an e-card to encourage your friends to quit or tell friends that you plan to quit. (

Get a "Catch the Quit" Twibbon. (

About World No Tobacco Day

World No Tobacco Day was created in 1987 by the World Health Organization to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes. It is celebrated around the world every year on May 31st.(7)

About The Canadian Lung Association

Established in 1900, The Canadian Lung Association is one of Canada's oldest and most respected health charities, and the leading national organization for science-based information, research, education, support programs, and advocacy on lung health issues. For more information on The Canadian Lung Association, to share a personal quit story, or to send an e-card to encourage a loved one to quit smoking, individuals can visit

Year of the Lung

2010 has been declared the Year of the Lung, by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS). The goal of this global campaign is to raise awareness about lung health among the public, initiate action in communities worldwide, and advocate for resources to combat lung disease including increased investment in basic, clinical and translational research worldwide.

The "Catch the Quit" program was made possible through an educational grant from Pfizer Canada Inc.

About Pfizer in Canada

Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc., the world's leading biopharmaceutical company. Pfizer discovers, develops, manufactures and markets prescription medicines for humans and animals. Pfizer's ongoing research and development activities focus on a wide range of therapeutic areas following our guiding aspiration... Working together for a healthier world.

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    (1) Christakis, N.A., et al. The Collective Dynamics of Smoking in a
        Large Social Network. The New England Journal of Medicine. Vol. 21:
    (2) The Canadian Lung Association. Making Quit Happen: Canada's
        Challenges to Smoking Cessation.
        Accessed May 2010.
    (3) Health Canada. Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) 2008.
        Accessed March 2010.
    (4) National Institute on Drug Abuse. Facts About Nicotine and Tobacco
        Products. Volume 13(3).
        Accessed May 2010.
    (5) CAMH. Relapse prevention: What is relapse?
        Accessed May 2010.
    (6) The Canadian Lung Association. Smoking and Tobacco: Quitting Smoking.
        Accessed May 2010.
    (7) World Health Organization. Previous World No Tobacco Days.
        Accessed May 2010.


For further information: For further information: Janis Hass, The Canadian Lung Association, (613) 569-6411 ext. 252,; Jacqueline Zonneville, NATIONAL Public Relations, (416) 848-1398,

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