January 19, 2011 is Weedless Wednesday
OTTAWA, Jan. 19 /CNW/ - Weedless Wednesday, celebrated at the mid-way
point of National Non-Smoking Week, helps focus public attention on the
benefits of cessation and the community resources available to help
people quit smoking. The purpose of Weedless Wednesday is to promote
and support quit attempts: whether through spontaneous "I'm done with
this" declarations or planned quits through smoking reduction and
pre-arranged quit dates. Many people who have successfully quit
smoking promote a "one day at a time" approach, an appealing concept
for those who may be discouraged at the thought of an entire week -- or
lifetime -- without cigarettes, but who may be able to cope with one
smoke-free hour or a smoke-free day.
Most people who smoke, and there are five million of them in Canada
today, do so for a range of reasons from "I've smoked for too long and
quitting now won't make a difference" to "smoking helps me relax when
I'm stressed" or "I only smoke a few cigarettes a day - that's not
dangerous" and beyond; despite admitting that they have heard all about
the health risks of smoking and know that smoking is bad for them and
their loved ones.
Smoking has a very powerful hold on many people, partly because people
smoke for a combination of reasons:
Physical addiction: Tobacco is a highly addictive substance. With every puff on a
cigarette the brain receives a "hit" of its nicotine and chemical
cocktail within seven seconds. This hit makes the smoker feel good -
temporarily - and makes them want more.
Physical habit: Each puff of a cigarette helps to create a strong "hand-to-mouth"
habit. For example, someone who smokes a pack a day and takes 10 puffs
of each cigarette, repeats this hand-to-mouth motion 250 times a day or
90,000 times a year. There aren't many behaviours (other than
involuntary ones) that people do with this frequency of repetition.
Emotional support: People who smoke think of cigarettes like good friends that help them
through the bad times and boost their enjoyment of the good times.
Personal identity: Many people see smoking as an important aspect of who they are. When
smoking is central to someone's identity, it has a strong hold on their
Social habit: If someone has a cigarette with their morning coffee or with friends
and colleagues at certain times throughout the day, they have trained
themselves to smoke in certain social situations (this is one reason
smoke-free legislation is important as it removes many of the formerly
conventional places people smoked).
Furthermore, smoking is learned from a young age: research has clearly
demonstrated that the majority of current adult smokers started smoking
before the age of 17 with more than half having started before the age
of 15. The tobacco industry argues that smoking is an adult choice, but
if addiction occurs before the age of consent, how can we as a society
continue to accept this argument?
Taking it one day at time
"For all the reasons listed and many more, quitting smoking is a very
challenging undertaking - one that should be supported not only by
family and friends but by society as a whole. Using a one day at a time
approach however will not work for everyone and so we encourage people
who smoke to explore their options," said Executive Director, Bob
"There are ever increasing supports to help people who want to quit.
There are nicotine replacement therapies (gum, patch, lozenge, etc), 1
800 quit lines, quit websites, seminars and support groups, etc. To
learn more, we encourage people who smoke to speak to their pharmacist,
family physician or contact their local public health unit," he added
"but be sure to ask if they've been trained to support people in
stopping tobacco use".
"We also call upon governments to better support Canadians trying to
quit. Annually, the federal government collects approximately $2.5
billion in tobacco taxes but spend less than 1% of that amount on
tobacco control. Even less investment is made in helping the five
million Canadians who smoke to quit", he concluded.
NNSW has been observed for more than 30 years and is one of the longest
running and most important events in the Canadian Council for Tobacco
Control's (CCTC) ongoing public education efforts regarding the
consequences of tobacco use.
To learn more about NNSW, please visit nnsw.ca
SOURCE CANADIAN COUNCIL FOR TOBACCO CONTROL (CCTC)
For further information:
Canadian Council for Tobacco Control