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Quit Smoking for the New Year

Stephanie Gravel RN, BScN

When I think about New Year’s Day, I think about making a resolution. The majority of us make a health-oriented New Year’s resolution, such as eating healthier, being more active or quitting smoking. If you ever thought about quitting smoking, or tried and were unable to remain smoke-free, then consider making a quit attempt in 2017. 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!

I realize that setting a New Year’s resolution to quit smoking can sound like a cliché, but there is scientific evidence that supports the effectiveness of selecting a specific quit date. 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 for New Year’s, 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 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 as well as 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’s Quit Smoking Clinic offers free one-to-one cessation planning with nurses who are specially trained to help people quit smoking. Personalized quit smoking plans are developed and based on individual goals and lifestyles. Furthermore, nicotine replacement products (patch, gum, etc.) are available at a reduced cost for clients.

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 by email at population.health@porcupinehu.on.ca.