Island Pharmacists Applauded For Quit Smoking Blitz

27 September 2011

Charlottetown -

In partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society, the P.E.I. Pharmacists Association is making a special effort to talk to patients about the risks associated with tobacco use and the tools available to help them stop.  Both groups agree, the best thing a person can do to improve their health is quit smoking.

“No matter how long you’ve been smoking, quitting improves your health and benefits can be felt almost immediately,’” says Erin MacKenzie, Executive Director of the P.E.I. Pharmacists Association.   “We see people every day getting medications for conditions that would improve or be eliminated if the patient stopped using tobacco. We want to help them work through the challenges they face as they quit,” says MacKenzie.

Lori Barker, Executive Director of the Canadian Cancer Society, P.E.I. Division, is pleased with this approach.  “It is very important for all healthcare professionals to talk to smokers about their health concerns,” says Barker.

“While the number of smokers in Canada continues to decline, there are still about 20,000 Islanders who smoke regularly. Lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer death in this province.  Smokers are putting their health, and the health of those around them, at risk. We want to help them break the habit,” says Barker.

The P.E.I. Pharmacists Association made a decision at its annual meeting in June to make smoking cessation a priority.  “Pharmacists are in a position to help patients deal with the affects of nicotine addiction,” says MacKenzie.  “We can work with individuals to manage withdrawal symptoms in a way that is right for them.”

Over the next six weeks, Pharmacists will be encouraging patients who smoke to talk about their situation. They will be prepared to provide information about tobacco cessation medications and nicotine replacement therapies.  Pharmacists also have information available to share with patients about Smokers’ Helpline,  a free service provided by the Canadian Cancer Society to help all smokers and the people in their lives who are concerned about them.

Smokers’ Helpline works with individuals to develop a plan that will help them successfully quit smoking for good.  Quit Specialists guide people one-on-one through the process.  They recognize it takes more than will power to quit smoking and that what works for one person may not work for the next.  They have practical tips to cope with cravings and can provide sound recommendations to help smokers respond to roadblocks that have prevented success in the past.

“The intervention and assistance offered by Pharmacists across Prince Edward Island will help reduce the number of people addicted to nicotine,” says Barker.  “We commend their efforts to help Islanders enjoy a healthier lifestyle.”

The Canadian Cancer Society encourages all Islanders to take time to celebrate the efforts of those who have successfully quit and show support to others attempting to do so.  

For more information connect to  or call 1-877-513-5333.


The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

Lori Barker

Executive Director

Phone: 902-566-4007