Time to quit

22 January 2015

Charlottetown, PE -

“Cigarettes controlled me,” says Amanda Smith. “I’m so relieved to have my life back.”   

The Cornwall woman started smoking when she was 13 years old.  “It’s what the cool kids did, so I joined in.”  This past summer, at age 37, she decided it was time to quit. 


“Smoking was taking its toll.  The thing that bothered me the most was the coughing. It was pretty constant and getting worse,” says Smith.


During National Non-Smoking Week, the Canadian Cancer Society encourages people to think about why they want to quit and celebrates those who have achieved this goal. 


 “It’s the best thing you can do for your health and reduce your risk of cancer,” says Jane Farquharson, executive director of the Canadian Cancer Society, P.E.I. Division.


Smith and her partner, John Betts, talked about becoming tobacco-free for over a year and were determined to succeed.  After discussions with their doctor, they decided to use a nicotine replacement therapy to help them through the worst of the nicotine withdrawal.


Smith didn’t smoke at all during the day while she was at work, but says she made up for it in the evening.   “I smoked from the minute I got home until I went to bed so that was the hardest time of day for me to cope,” says Smith.  She made changes to her routines for the first few weeks to avoid falling back into long established patterns.


“I used to turn down invitations to go places because it would interfere with getting that much needed fix.  Now, cigarettes no longer control me and it’s a wonderful feeling,” says Smith.


In addition to changing routines, Smith relied on drinking lots of water. She admits she did gain a few pounds but is cooking healthier meals and relying less on pre-packaged foods.  “I have more free time to do that, now that I’m not smoking,” says Smith.


The other big impact is on the packet book.   Smith smoked about a pack a day and Betts was up to 2 packs.  In the run of a year, the Cornwall couple was spending more than $10,000 on cigarettes.


“It’s made a huge difference,” says John Betts.  “I’m not sure how we did it, but it’s great not to be so tight with cash now.” 

Their family is extremely supportive and proud that they have both successfully quit smoking.  “I wanted to set a better example for my sons.  They are 13 and 16 and they’re happy I’m not smoking anymore,” says Betts.

The couple recognized that quitting smoking was the most important thing they could do for their health.   “I feel so much better, it’s quite amazing,” says Smith.  “I’m breathing better, the hacking cough is gone and no more snoring!”

The Canadian Cancer Society is committed to helping Canadians become and stay smoke-free.  It reports that tobacco products are the leading cause of preventable death in Canada, killing about 37,000 people every year.  More than a third of cancer deaths are directly related to smoking.

“The good news is that our bodies are very resilient and begin to repair the minute you stop smoking,” says Farquharson.  Within a month circulation improves and energy levels increase. After 10 years of quitting, a person’s risk of lung cancer is half that of a continuing smoker. 

Both Smith and Betts are delighted they have quit smoking and are quick to encourage others to follow their lead.  “It was hard at first but there is no going back.  I’m so proud we are finally non-smokers,” says Smith.


The Canadian Cancer Society offers a free, confidential service to assist anyone who wants to quit smoking or to people trying to support someone trying to quit.   Contact Smokers’ Helpline at 1-877-513-5333 or www.smokershelpline.ca

For more information contact:


Claire Nantes

Canadian Cancer Society, PEI Division