King-size support for smokers

Did you know? Without any help, hardly 5% of smokers manage to kick the habit. Through its smoking cessation services, the Canadian Cancer Society has helped more than 100,000 smokers quit.

“I started smoking around the age of 12, when the cost of two cigarettes was five cents,” says Denis Provost. This 67-year-old resident of the Laurentians stopped smoking about two months ago - a victory that he says he owes in particular to the support that he received from the iQuitnow smokers’ helpline, one of the Canadian Cancer Society’s two smoking cessation programs.

We all know this: one of the best ways to prevent cancer is to adopt healthy habits. Tobacco use alone causes 30% of all cancers. It also kills one in two regular smokers! But all smokers and ex-smokers know how difficult it is to quit. Today, those who use iQuitnow smokers’ helpline alongside nicotine replacement therapy are three times as likely to succeed in quitting for good.

“The iQuitnow helpline’s counsellor suggested that I consult a dietician because I was worried that quitting would lead to snacking more and that would aggravate my diabetes,” says Denis Provost. These specialists at iQuitnow provide personalized support tailored to the smokers’ needs. Without judgement, they encourage the smoker to understand why he or she wants to quit and offer support through ups and downs.

Lina Thibault’s choice to help her quit is the Canadian Cancer Society’s Short Text Messages Against Tobacco (SMAT). This service, which is targeted to younger people, works by sending text messages to smokers to help them break free of their tobacco addiction or stay tobacco-free after they quit. These messages are practical and encouraging, like “Show the cigarette who’s the boss!” “I really appreciated these text messages, which reminded me with humour what we tend to forget: the many advantages of not smoking and the positive effects that quitting can have on our bodies,” says this former smoker in her twenties.

More smoke-free spaces in Quebec!
Not only does the Canadian Cancer Society support people who want to quit, but it also fights for measures to reduce smoking. The Tobacco Control Act was passed at the end of 2015 in Quebec. As a result, several measures, which the Canadian Cancer Society has been promoting for years, are slowly coming into force. Since May 2016, for instance, tobacco has been banned in playgrounds and sidewalk cafes, restaurants and bars. Since August, the sale of flavoured tobacco products (particularly menthol, which is very popular among young people) has been banned. In November, the size of health warnings was standardized, independent of the size of the packaging.