Tobacco users encouraged to Run to Quit

21 January 2016

Edmonton -

A new program is being launched to help Albertans reduce two key risk factors that increase a person’s risk of developing cancer: tobacco use and physical inactivity.

The Canadian Cancer Society and Running Room are bringing their expertise to Run to Quit, an innovative 10-week program for smokers who will be coached in a step-by-step way to use running as a way to quit smoking.

“We have come a long way in reducing tobacco use but two million Canadians still smoke. Run to Quit offers them a unique way to quit for good,” says Kristyn Berry, Health Promotion Coordinator, Canadian Cancer Society, Alberta/NWT Division. “With coaching from the Society and the Running Room, you’ll learn how to overcome tobacco addiction, create and maintain healthy behaviours, and build a support community.”

Run to Quit was piloted in Ontario, where participants were seven times more likely to quit smoking than those who tried to quit cold turkey. Exercise reduces tobacco cravings, helps manage withdrawal symptoms and inspires people to be healthier.

Edmontonian Ed Wagner is a Run to Quit instructor and knows first-hand the difference physical activity makes in trying to quit smoking.

“I tried to quit smoking six or seven times before I succeeded and running was the key,” says Wagner. “I replaced a deadly addiction with a more powerful one – becoming healthy, fit and happy.”

Run to Quit community training programs will be held from April to June at Running Room locations in Edmonton and Calgary. Virtual programs will be open to all Canadians online at runtoquit.com

“You don’t have to be a runner to do this program,” says Wagner, who works at the Running Room. “Our Running Room staff and coaches are eager to get started with this fantastic program because we know how powerful running and walking can be in motivating people to live healthier lives.” 

Those looking for an added incentive can register for the Commit to Quit challenge, by which committing to going smoke-free for the full 10 weeks and completing a 5 km fun run/walk event makes you eligible to win great prizes.

People can register at runtoquit.com or by calling 780-437-8412. 

In-person training programs will be held in 21 Running Room locations across Canada in 2016, including:

  • 8537 109 Street in Edmonton
  • Country Hills Town Centre in Calgary

The program will expand to 50 locations in 2017 and to all 111 stores in 2018.

Additional support from official Quit Partners NICORETTE® and NICODERM® will also be provided.

Run to Quit is a partnership of the Canadian Cancer Society and Running Room Inc., with funding by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers and staff 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 cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333.

About Running Room Canada

The Running Room is proudly a family-owned company. It originated in 1984 out of founder John Stanton's wish to purchase quality running shoes from someone knowledgeable about the sport. 

A three-kilometre fun run with his sons in 1981 was the catalyst for the then-out-of-shape, overweight John Stanton to realize he had to change his lifestyle. A food industry executive who smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, he began running secretly before dawn because he felt self-conscious about having his neighbours see "this chubby little guy" who could only run from lamp post to lamp post before having to take a walk break.

New to the sport of running, John had a thirst for knowledge as well as a desire to buy the right product. This entrepreneurial retailer decided to fill a niche in the marketplace by opening a small one-room store in the renovated living room of an old house in Edmonton, hence the name, "Running Room." The concept was highly successful, and the stores have since expanded to over 117 locations across Canada and the United States.

For more information, please contact:

Paula Trotter

Communications Coordinator

Phone: 403-541-2339