More help to kick the smok­ing habit

The Glengarry News - - Health, Beauty, Fitness, Nutrition - News break­ or call 1-


Staff While quit­ting smok­ing can be a dif­fi­cult chal­lenge for any­one who is ad­dicted to the lethal weed, two new pro­grams -- My Quit and Break It Off -- make it a lit­tle eas­ier to kick the habit.

My Quit, avail­able through the East­ern On­tario Health Unit, of­fers smok­ers a sup­port­ive net­work of peo­ple who are there to help them as they strug­gle through the process of break­ing their ad­dic­tion.

Whether in­di­vid­u­als who smoke want to stop smok­ing com­pletely or even sim­ply re­duce the num­ber of cig­a­rettes they smoke in a day, the My Quit pro­gram can help hrough a va­ri­ety of meth­ods, in­clud­ing phone and in­ter­net sup­port or through sup­port groups.

Par­tic­i­pants can have a coach to call when they need to speak to some­one.

There are also pro­grams that of­fer nico­tine re­place­ment ther­apy.

East­ern On­tario Health Unit Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer of Health and CEO Dr. Paul Roume­li­o­tis said the im­pact on the health care sys­tem re­lated to smok­ing runs into hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars in terms of hos­pi­tal­iza­tion and other fac­tors.

“We want to be able to re­duce that,” he said, adding My Quit or­ga­niz­ers hope sev­eral thou­sand smok­ers will par­tic­i­pate in the pro­gram. He said the pro­gram is di­rected to help peo­ple where they live.

When peo­ple call the smok­ers’ helpline the sup­port team will di­rect them to a num­ber in their area.

East­ern On­tario has gone against the pro­vin­cial trend in that the num­ber of smok­ers here has in­creased while the rate has dropped in the rest of the prov­ince.

The num­ber of smok­ers in the re­gion is about six per cent higher than the pro­vin­cial av­er­age -- 24.7 per cent com­pared to 19 per cent for the prov­ince.

In 2003, in this re­gion, 23.9 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion used to­bacco, com­pared to the pro­vin­cial av­er­age of 22.2 per cent.

As a pos­i­tive sign, for teens only, the per­cent­age of smok­ers de­creased to 12.5 in 2009 from 16.8 in 2003. Dur­ing the same pe­riod, the On­tario per­cent­age dopped from 13.7 to 8.9.

“We do know that 60 per cent of peo­ple who still smoke want to quit. Yet only five per cent will suc­ceed if they do it or on their own,” said Dr. Roume­li­o­tis. “Forty per cent have tried mul­ti­ple times, so we are try­ing to cap­i­tal­ize on that 60 per cent that want to stop smok­ing.”

Be­cause smok­ing is an ad­dic­tion it's not easy to break the habit. As a re­sult, nico­tine re­place­ment ther­apy or med­i­ca­tions are not al­ways ef­fec­tive alone with­out a sup­port­ive net­work.

“It's very dif­fi­cult to over­come the ad­dic­tion; it's an ad­dic­tion of the brain,” said Dr. Roume­li­o­tis.

“We did this based on what smok­ers who stopped wanted. They said we don't want some­body to judge us. We want some­body to help us.” He said even if some in­di­vid­u­als just want to de­crease the amount of cig­a­rettes they smoke, that in it­self can be a suf­fi­cient goal.

“We're not say­ing, you’ve got to quit. What­ever your goal is, we will work with you,” he adds.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the My Quit pro­gram, visit, or call: 1-877- 376-1701.

Stor­mont-Dun­das-South Glen­garry MP Guy Lau­zon said a sim­i­lar pro­gram is avail­able through Cana­dian Cancer So­ci­ety and Health Canada.

With Break It Off, peo­ple can con­nect on­line when they are look­ing for sup­port. There is also a mo­bile app avail­able.

Any­one in­ter­ested can visit 866-366-3667.

Mr. Lau­zon used to smoke for 20 years and has been smoke-free for over 35 years.

Pleased with the de­cline in the num­ber of young smok­ers, the MP notes that smok­ing cig­a­rettes not only is bad for one's health but it also is a very ex­pen­sive habit. He es­ti­mates he saved $150,000 dur­ing the years he has been a non-smoker.

“By work­ing to­gether, we can keep re­duc­ing the num­ber of young peo­ple who start smok­ing, and help to make smok­ing and re­lated dis­eases things of the past, “Mr. Lau­zon said.

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