In 10 years, more than 170,000 requests have been processed by the Ligne j’Arrête smokers’ helpline.

05 January 2012

Montreal, QC -

400,000 smokers want to quit over the next six months – a majority of them need help to stick to their resolution.

The Ligne j’Arrête smokers’ helpline received its first call at the beginning of January 2002. Ten years and some 170,000 requests later, more than 95,000 people have used this support service to stop smoking, plan their smoking cessation, help a loved one quit, obtain information on smoking, or learn about the Quit to Win! Challenge.

“You’ll still find the personalized, confidential, and, above all, timely approach, for which we are known. And that’s good news, especially at the beginning of the new year when a large number of people in Quebec have made a resolution to kick the habit for good,” says Isabelle Éthier, coordinator of the Ligne j’Arrête smokers’ helpline.

1 866 527-7383: double your chances of success

In Quebec, there are more than 1.5 million smokers and it is estimated that nearly one third of them want to quit smoking over the next six months. Tobacco addiction, however, is difficult to overcome and kicking a habit that is as addictive as cocaine or heroin is not easy.

Most smokers want to stop and a very large majority of them have tried at least once. In the long term, however, barely 5% of smokers succeed in quitting for good without any help. And, on average, a smoker will make 4 attempts before quitting definitively.

It has been proven that to stop smoking for good, receiving support considerably increases the chances of success. The success rate is at least twice as high among smokers who use a telephone service to help them quit smoking.

Also, telephone accompaniment has proven so effective in smoking cessation that by June 2012 the toll-free 1 866 527-7383 number will appear on all cigarette packages sold in the country.[1]

Tobacco: a scourge far from being curbed

It is true that the number of smokers has significantly decreased in the last 10 years – the smoking rate in Quebec has gone from 30% in 2001 to 23% in 2010. But these past few years, the trend has slowed down. Quebec is still one of the provinces with the highest proportion of smokers and, unfortunately, 28% of young people in Quebec (aged 20 to 34 years) are addicted to tobacco.

“We have to be vigilant and make sure that tobacco remains a public health priority. The 10th anniversary of the Ligne j’Arrête smokers’ helpline is an occasion for reaffirming our commitment to the fight against tobacco. We must continue to support smokers who want to overcome their addiction and make sure not to create a new generation of smokers,” says André Beaulieu, Acting Director of Public Affairs, Canadian Cancer Society – Quebec Division.

The harmful effects of tobacco in our lives

· Smoking is the biggest killer in the world. In Quebec, 163 people find out every week that they have lung cancer.

· Every day, 28 people die from the direct consequences of smoking.

· In 2011 in Quebec, a third of cancer deaths – 33.3% – are due to lung cancer.

· In Quebec, lung cancer kills twice as many women as breast cancer and nearly 4.5 more men than prostate cancer.

· For each smoker who quits smoking or dies, a new person starts. Worse still, statistics indicate that 33,000 young people in Quebec will start smoking this year.

Help for smokers

Most of the requests made to the Ligne j’Arrête smokers’ helpline (90%) come from people who want to obtain assistance to quit smoking. Other calls are from loved ones who want to help a smoker quit.

“Smokers really appreciate the Ligne j’Arrête smokers’ helpline because they are heard and receive advice adapted to their situation and their needs. Whether callers are thinking about the possibility of quitting or are ready to quit, the professionalism of the Ligne j’Arrête smokers’ helpline specialists is a great support in the smokers’ efforts,” says Mario Bujold, Executive Director, Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health.

The Ligne j’Arrête smokers’ helpline was initiated following the implementation of Plan québécois d'abandon du tabagisme in 2001. For the past 10 years, this free service has been available to the population from Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Funded by the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, it is jointly managed by the Quebec Division of the Canadian Cancer Society, which provides space, personnel training, and supervision, and the Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health, which is responsible for promotion.

In addition to the Ligne j’Arrête smokers’ helpline, two other smoking cessation aid services are offered to smokers: the web site (as well as the French version and quit smoking centres in each Quebec region.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

For two decades, the Canadian Cancer Society has played an important role in the fight against tobacco. As an advocate of many important causes against tobacco manufacturers and a member of coalitions engaged in the fight against smoking, it has been responsible for raising awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco among government authorities and the general public.

About the Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health

The Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health is a non-profit organization that has been working for 35 years to foster the reduction and prevention of tobacco consumption in Quebec. It coordinates several quit smoking and prevention programs in schools, businesses, and among the general population, as well as civic health-promotion campaigns such as the Semaine québécoise pour un avenir sans tabac.


[1] International data show that calls to quit smoking helplines increase significantly when a toll-free number is visibly displayed on packaging.

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) is the only national charity that supports Canadians with all cancers in communities across the country. No other organization does what we do; we are the voice for Canadians who care about cancer. We fund groundbreaking research, provide a support system for all those affected by cancer and advocate to governments for important social change.

Help us make a difference. Call 1-888-939-3333 or visit today.

For more information, please contact:

André Beaulieu

Spokesperson and Senior Advisor, Public Relations

Canadian Cancer Society

Quebec Division

Phone: (514) 393-3444