This is National Non-smoking Week and health officials have some tips and strategies to help people quit.
“A lot of people understand that smoking is harmful, it’s not good for your health and they do want to quit,” says Stephanie Lachapelle, Community Health Promoter with the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit in Ontario. “Nicotine is an extremely addictive substance but there are other things involved. It’s a huge part of people’s lives. It’s woven into their routines, their relationships and their activities every day so that’s something we need to keep in mind. Everybody’s quit journey is quite different.”
Quit supports include nicotine replacement therapy, apps and chat support, a smoker’s helpline, and more.
“Medication can certainly help you in quitting smoking and increase your chance of being successful,” says Lachapelle.
Other tips and strategies include distracting yourself, finding activities or hobbies to do, drinking a lot of water, getting support from friends and family, and more.
Lachapelle says quitting is good for your health.
“Even within 20 minutes after quitting your blood pressure improves and your pulse rate returns to normal,” she says. “After 72 hours breathing gets easier and cravings start to lessen. Within a few weeks, your energy levels increase, and circulation begins to improve.”
Lachapelle adds that after a year of non-smoking the risk of heart attack drops by 50% and after five years the risk of stroke is cut in half.
(With files from Richard Coffin and Kathy Jennings)