Never Quit Trying to Quit PEI

31 May 2016

Charlottetown, PE -

World no tobacco day

Never quit trying to quit PEI

Tobacco is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced. According to The World Health Organization (WHO), the “tobacco epidemic” is killing around 6 million people a year while the tobacco industry profits about $44 billion USD a year.

Sadly, half to two-thirds of all tobacco users will die from tobacco use, depriving their families of income and increasing costs to our health care systems. In PEI, the cost of tobacco to our health care system is estimated at over $100 million annually and about 250 cancer deaths on the Island would be tobacco related each year.

Today, World No Tobacco Day 2016, the Canadian Cancer Society PEI reminds Islanders that there is support available to help them quit smoking. Quitting smoking is the single most impactful thing anyone can do to improve their health, and for a pack- a- day smoker, quitting can put $365 a month back in their pocket.

 “Breaking this addiction is extremely challenging, but no one has to face the battle alone,” says Lori Barker, Executive Director, Canadian Cancer Society PEI.  There are a multitude of supports available through the PEI office.  The Canadian Cancer Society’s free non-judgmental support service, the Smokers’ Helpline, works with individuals to develop skills to deal with cravings and triggers.

John Ford of Tyne Valley knows all about the struggles associated with quitting.  He started smoking when he was very young.  “I think I was 8 or 10,” he says.  “A friend would snatch some tobacco from his parents and we’d smoke it.”  Over the next 50 plus years, John became a regular pack-a-day smoker.  He worked in construction most of his career where smoking was very common. 

John became tobacco free in May of 2014 at the age of 62.  He said he knew he had to do it when his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, a progressive lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe) went from bad to worse.  At the age of 33, John developed asthma.  It was the first sign of the health issues he would face as a result of smoking.  Over time he noted that it kept getting worse.  “I couldn’t walk a hundred feet without needing a break,’ he explained. “I depended on my inhaler constantly. I would have my inhaler in one hand and a cigarette in the other. That was the power of the addiction.”

John’s advice to other smokers is “never quit trying to quit” and there is plenty of evidence to support this. It has been proven that the likelihood of staying smoke-free increases with time; particularly, with each quit attempt. 

John admits to making multiple attempts to quit and says when he finally quit it was just his time.  “I found the cravings weren’t as bad and I knew what to expect.  I know it was the right thing for me. My quality of life is so much better, I have more energy, food tastes better, and my sense of smell has improved.  I know I will live a long life now, I can just tell and it feels great”. 

Any Islander who wants to quit smoking is encouraged to contact the Smokers’ Helpline. It is a free service where you can have a confidential conversation about smoking, get support creating a quit plan and learn about additional resources available in your community. Smokers’ Helpline can be reached toll-free at 1 877 513-5333 or online at smokershelpline.ca.

About Canadian Cancer Society Smokers' Helpline

Smokers' Helpline is a free, confidential service that provides personalized support, advice and information about quitting smoking and tobacco use. Operated by the Canadian Cancer Society, Smokers' Helpline helps Islanders quit via phone support at 1-877-513-5333 and via

About the Canadian Cancer Society

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.




For more information, please contact:

Marlene Mulligan

Communications Officer

Canadian Cancer Society PEI

Email: mmulligan@pei.cancer.ca

Office: 902-566-1713 ext 2234

Mobile: 403-703-1059