The Lung Association Celebrates Quitters

    On World No Tobacco Day smokers are encouraged to butt out for good

    OTTAWA, May 26 /CNW/ - Approximately five million people continue to
smoke in Canada; however, studies have shown that as many as 90 per cent of
smokers would like to quit.(1),(2) Yet the reality is that without a plan and
the proper support, it can often be challenging to break the addiction. On
World No Tobacco Day (Sunday, May 31), The Lung Association is celebrating
those Canadians who have successfully quit smoking, and sharing their success
stories to help motivate others to quit. With the support of family, friends
and healthcare providers, smokers can develop an individualized quit plan that
will enable them to butt out for good.
    "Nicotine is a highly addictive substance, and like most addictions to
drugs, overcoming a nicotine addiction may be one of the most challenging
things an individual will experience, but also one of the most rewarding,"
says Dr. Anthony D'Urzo, family physician and director of the Primary Care
Lung Clinic in Toronto. "A smoker's journey to become smoke-free can be a
battle, and individuals must ensure that a proper quit plan is put into place,
so they have the best chance of success."
    To honour those who have successfully quit, The Lung Association is
asking Canadians to visit its website at to share their personal
success stories, as a way to inspire others. Visitors to the site can also
download and share an e-greeting card with a loved one who smokes to encourage
him or her to quit and offer support during the quit process. Smokers can also
post a personal pledge highlighting their quit date.
    "After 30 years as a chronic smoker, I realized that I needed to quit,"
says Gerald (Gerry) Rochman, former smoker. "I tried quitting cold turkey
numerous times, but wasn't very successful because I couldn't stop thinking
about smoking. I would use cigarettes to help me cope during stressful
situations. Now I've learned to deal with these types of situations without
the crutch of smoking."
    Gerry's journey to quit smoking is not unlike many other Canadians out
there. In fact, last year, in its report entitled Making Quit Happen: Canada's
Challenges to Smoking Cessation, The Lung Association determined that 79 per
cent of smokers have tried to quit, most of them several times; the average
number of quit attempts is six.(2)
    Fortunately for Gerry, he eventually found the resources to finally help
him quit by consulting with his doctor, setting a quit date and developing his
own unique quit plan. He is proud to declare that May 1st marked his two year
anniversary of being smoke-free, and he strongly believes that self-motivation
and positive reinforcement were the keys to his success. According to Gerry,
"If just one individual reads my story and becomes motivated to quit, then my
journey will have been worth it."
    "Ultimately, if we can encourage smokers to quit, and provide them with
universal access to the appropriate tools and supports, we can move one step
closer to a smoke-free Canada," says Paul Thomey, Chair of Tobacco Issues for
The Lung Association. Making Quit Happen: Canada's Challenges to Smoking
Cessation determined that access to smoking cessation programs and support
systems is not universal across all provinces for people living in Canada.(2)


    Smoking is linked to virtually all the major causes of death and disease
in Canada. Approximately 37,000 Canadians are expected to die this year from
tobacco-related causes,(3) including over 1,000 from second hand smoke.
    In health care, tobacco use costs the Canadian healthcare system billions
of dollars each year. Despite the reduced rate of smoking, health care costs
related to smoking have increased steadily since 1966.(4) In 2002, tobacco use
accounted for $4.4 billion in direct health care costs and an additional $12.5
billion in indirect costs such as lost productivity, longer-term disability
and premature death.(5)


    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 31.(6)


    Established in 1900, The 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 heath issues. For more information on The Lung Association, to share a
personal quit story, or to send an e-greeting card to encourage loved ones to
quit smoking, individuals can visit

    (1) Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada.  Tobacco and the Health of
        Accessed April 2009.
    (2) The Lung Association. Making Quit Happen: Canada's Challenges to
        Smoking Cessation. Accessed
        April 2009.
    (3) Public Health Agency of Canada. Minimizing the Risks of
        Cardiovascular Disease.
        Accessed April 2009.
    (4) Kaiserman MJ, The Cost of Smoking in Canada, 1991. Chronic Diseases
        in Canada. 1997; 18:1.
    (5) Life and Breath: Respiratory Disease in Canada, Public Health Agency
        of Canada 2007 page 14.
    (6) World Health Organization. Previous World No Tobacco Days.
        Accessed April 2009.

For further information:

For further information: or an interview, please contact Cameron Bishop,
Canadian Lung Association, (613) 569-6411 x223,; Jacqueline
Zonneville, NATIONAL Public Relations, (416) 848-1398,

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