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Quit Smoking for the New Year

Stephanie Gravel RN, BScN

The holiday season is so busy that we often put our own mental and physical health on hold. We do this to have time to shop for presents, prepare extravagant meals, and spend quality time with those we care about. With all the commotion that comes with bringing in the New Year, we tend all to breathe a sigh of relief, having made it through. We then start to think about all the overindulgence that occurred in the past week or two (or in my case, the whole month of December!) So, it’s not surprising that many of us make a health-oriented New Year’s resolution, such as eating more healthily, being more active or quitting smoking.

I realize that setting a New Year’s resolution to quit smoking can sound like a cliché, but there is scientific evidence that picking a specific quit date works. As someone who helps people quit smoking, I’ve learned that by setting a specific date, you are more likely to follow through with your plan.

If you are not ready to quit smoking as your New Year’s resolution, then pick another day that works better for you, but try to select a date that is no more than one month away. By doing this, you’re giving yourself enough time to prepare, but not so much time that your commitment changes or you view quitting smoking as less of a priority. If you have not yet thought about quitting smoking, or think you won’t be successful because you have been smoking for too long, just know that it is never too late to try!

If you are concerned about failing on your first attempt (or second, or third, or eighth attempt), don’t worry, quitting smoking is a process. On average, a person makes 30 quit attempts before they successfully quit for life. The good news is that with every quit attempt, you learn something new about your strengths and your areas for improvement. As you learn more about yourself and your smoking, every subsequent quit attempt will become easier and easier.

If you would like some additional support with your quit attempt, the Porcupine Health Unit has two programs available to help, the Quit Smoking Clinic and the Smoking Treatment for Ontario Patients (STOP) Program. The Quit Smoking Clinic offers free one-to-one counselling sessions with access to nicotine replacement products, such as the patch, gum or lozenge, at a reduced cost while the STOP program is a research-based program that consists of an educational workshop and a five-week course of nicotine patches at no cost.

By quitting smoking, your health will begin to improve within 20 minutes, and the improvements to your health will continue for years to come. For more information, please call the Porcupine Health Unit at 705-267-1181 ext. 2417 or toll free at 1-800-461-1818 or visit our webpages on smoking.