What's Your Moment?

A Pivotal Moment in Life Can Motivate Smokers to Stay Smoke Free

KIRKLAND, QC, Aug. 9 /CNW/ - Though virtually all smokers know that their addiction is bad for them, many Canadians still struggle to quit. In fact, less than five per cent of smokers each year quit successfully without help or support.(1) For Anna Bertram, now a mother of five, the moment that helped give her that final push was when she started dating her now husband, and saw his disappointment in her smoking.

"He knew I was a smoker and seeing me smoke really affected him," said Ms. Bertram. "He told me that he cared about me so much, that he couldn't stand by and watch me hurt myself, I was way too important to him." It was this pivotal moment that helped Anna realize that her health was something that should matter to her too and she was motivated to quit for good.

Anna is not alone, in fact, according to a recent Leger Marketing survey commissioned by Pfizer Canada, nearly two-thirds (65%) of past smokers attribute a pivotal moment as their inspiration to quit. Of those moments, negative perceptions of smokers among social circles, illness, milestone birthday, starting a relationship with a non-smoker, and starting a family were some of the top motivators.(2)

"Make no mistake, quitting smoking is a challenging process and it may take numerous attempts." says Dr. Dave Greenberg (a.k.a. Dr. Dave), the popular television host of the Slice Network's Doctor in the House, and resident GP on The Mom Show and Cityline. "Part of being successful is learning from those past attempts and finding the right time to quit. For some smokers, a major life event - a pivotal moment -can be the first step smokers need to motivate them to quit."

Close to six-in-ten current smokers (57%) believe a pivotal moment would motivate them to quit. The top five big motivators included personal illness, illness of a loved one, starting a new relationship with a non-smoker, negative perceptions of smokers among social circles, and having children.(2)

Pivotal Moments

Allan Hobbs - For Allan Hobbs watching his father die from a heart attack - after a lifetime of smoking - was all the motivation he needed to finally quit."I had been given a front row seat on what my future looked like right down to how it was going to feel," says Hobbs, a smoker of more than 50 years. "It was at that moment of clarity, I realized I had to quit smoking for good." For Hobbs, like 48% of other former smokers that were surveyed, illness was a powerful pivotal moment.(2)

Diane and George Moffats - For the Moffats, it was an anti-smoking campaign at work that finally challenged the 30 year smokers to successfully become smoke-free. After several unsuccessful attempts to quit, The Moffats found the support of their workplace, their local health department, and each other as the pivotal moment they needed. "We found that doing it together, making that decision to quit together, we were able to motivate each other, and support each other along the way," says Diane Moffats, "We just feel better now. We breathe easier." Like many Canadians, it was the social stigma of smoking, coupled with a concern for their long term health, that inspired them to persevere in their quit journey.

Julia Williams - After 28 years Julia Williams was tired of smoking and looking for a healthier lifestyle. After joining her sister for a "learn to run, smokers program," she finally found the motivation to cross the finish line, and quit smoking for good."Running my first 5km really helped me focus, and gave me a way to really let smoking go," says Williams. "Once I started running, I realized I was getting healthier - my lungs felt better and I was losing weight - I was truly living a better life."

And Julia is not alone, seven per cent of Canadians say improving their health was the reason they stopped smoking.(2)

John Beaven - When John Beaven overheard a friends' comment about feeling relief when a fellow pilot left because they didn't have to deal with the smoke anymore, he knew it was his time to quit. "I did not want my friends to be glad when I left," says Beaven. "The next day I went to my doctor because I knew I had to quit."

John has been smoke-free for two years and credit's the off colour comment by his friends has his motivation to create a plan to quit. Approximately 37 percent of Canadians had the same moment as John, and say it was the negative perception of smoking among his social circle that made them quit.(2)

The Cycle of Addiction

On average, Canadians smoke for 10 years before their first attempt to quit, and it may take up to five times for them to finally succeed.(3) Smoking is more than just a bad habit - nicotine addiction can be as hard to break as an addiction to heroin or cocaine.(4) But, with the right mix of counselling and medication, combined with a strong support group, has been shown to vastly improve your chances of quitting. Working hand-in-hand, this combination targets both the physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and the behavioural dependency.(5)

Relapse is normal, and Dr. Dave says not to be discouraged. "The key to success is learning from each attempt, not getting discouraged and then speaking to your doctor to establish a quit plan that works for you." With the proper plan in place, Canadian smokers are more likely to succeed.

Survey Highlights(2)

    -   Women who smoked in the past, as well as younger smokers (18-34), are
        more likely to state that having children or starting a family
        was/would be the biggest motivator that would/did make them quit.
    -   Male smokers ranked personal illness as their top motivator, while an
        illness of a child is more likely to be one of a woman's top
        motivators (compared to men).
    -   37 per cent of past smokers say negative perceptions in their social
        circles made them kick the habit.
    -   Past smokers in Ontario listed personal illness among their top three
        events, while Quebec's past smokers listed the illness of a loved one
        as what got them to quit.

    Top Motivators(2)
    -   Illness - personal or a loved one
    -   Starting a new relationship with a non-smoker
    -   Negative perceptions of smoking
    -   Having a child/starting a family
    -   A milestone birthday

The cross Canada tour launches today in Toronto, and continues to Halifax, Edmonton and Vancouver from August 10 to 12, 2010.

Interview Opportunities

Dr. Dave will be available in the following cities on the following dates for interviews:

    Toronto August 9, 2010
    Halifax August 10, 2010
    Edmonton August 11, 2010
    Vancouver August 12, 2010

    Anna will be available in the following cities on the following dates for

    Montreal August 9, 2010
    Quebec City August 10, 2010

    About Pfizer Canada

Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc, the world's leading biopharmaceutical company. The company is one of the largest contributors to health research in Canada. Our diversified health care portfolio includes human and animal biologic and small molecule medicines and vaccines, as well as nutritional products and many of the world's best-known consumer products.

Every day, Pfizer Canada employees work to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. We apply science and our global resources to improve the health and well-being of Canadians at every stage of life.

Our commitment is reflected in everything we do, from our disease awareness initiatives to our community partnerships, to our belief that it takes more than medication to be truly healthy. To learn more about Pfizer's More Than Medication philosophy and programs, visit morethanmedication.ca. To learn more about Pfizer Canada, visit pfizer.ca.

More Than Medication(TM) is a registered trademark of Pfizer Canada Inc.

    (1) WHO European Strategy For Smoking Cessation: European Tobacco Control
        Policy Series No. 1
    (2) Leger Marketing Study on Pivotal Life Moments and Smoking, completed
        with 1500 smoking and ex-smoking Canadians Summer 2010
    (3) Leger Marketing Study on Smoking Habits, completed with 2000 smoking
        and ex-smoking Canadians in Fall 2006.
    (4) Health Canada. Nicotine.
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/tobac-tabac/body-corps/nicotine-eng.php. Accessed
February 2010.
    (5) Optimal Therapy Initiative (University of Toronto). Smoking cessation
        guidelines: How to treat your patient's tobacco addiction 2000.

SOURCE NATIONAL Public Relations

For further information: For further information: or an interview with a physician or a spokesperson please contact: Toronto, Stacy O'Rourke, 416-848-1426, sorourke@national.ca; Edmonton, Karissa Boley, 403-444-1486, kboley@national.ca; Vancouver, Candice Pedersen, 604-691-7393, cmunroe@national.ca; Halifax, Emily Farlow, 902-425-1860 x254, efarlow@mtlpr.ca; Quebec City, Sylvie Patry, 418-648-1233, local 232, spatry@national.ca; Montreal, Stephanie Lyttle, Sophie Côté Laplante, 514-843-2365, 514-843-2376, slyttle@national.ca, scotelaplante@national.ca

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