One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is quitting smoking but most smokers are addicted to nicotine, making quitting difficult. Research shows that the support of friends and family can make the difference when it comes to quitting successfully. As part of the launch of its ninth Driven to Quit Challenge, the Canadian Cancer Society is sharing some tools and tips to arm Ontarians to help their loved ones quit smoking.
“Strategies such as nagging or guilt trips don’t typically work in getting people to make changes,” says John Atkinson, Director, Cancer Prevention and Tobacco Control, Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division. “But a tool that friends and family can use to start a positive conversation about quitting smoking is offering to be a buddy for the Driven to Quit Challenge.”
The Society’s Driven to Quit Challenge is a health promotion campaign in association with McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a division of Johnson & Johnson Inc., the makers of NICODERM® and NICORETTE®. The challenge is designed to motivate adult Ontario tobacco users to quit smoking or other forms of tobacco for the month of March for the chance to win a car or cash prizes. Signing up with a support buddy is encouraged. This year’s grand prize of a car is provided by Parkway Motors of Hamilton, Ontario.
“As it often takes a smoker several attempts to beat tobacco addiction for good, every quit attempt is important,” emphasizes Atkinson. “The encouragement of family and friends can be an influential part of the quit process and we want to ensure that all quit buddies have the knowledge and tools they need to provide the best support possible.”
While it’s important to remember that no one can make someone quit smoking, the Canadian Cancer Society offers the following tips on how to be a great support for someone making a quit attempt:
• Bring up smoking in a non-judgmental way that shows you are genuinely concerned for their well-being and recognize that quitting is not always an easy thing to do.
• Ask how you can help. It will show you care and that you really want to support your friend or loved one.
• Show them that you believe in them and let your friend or loved one know that you will be there for the ups and downs.
• Encourage them to access free resources proven to help people quit, such as the Canadian Cancer Society’s Smokers’ Helpline (SmokersHelpline.ca).
• Give them an added incentive or a goal to work towards, such as the chance to win a car by signing up for the Driven to Quit Challenge (DriventoQuit.ca)
Registration for the Driven to Quit Challenge is open until February 28, 2015. All participants receive discount coupons for NICODERM® or NICORETTE® nicotine replacement therapy products. Entrants who register with a support buddy will receive a second entry into the grand prize draw, doubling their chances of winning. Registered support buddies are also eligible to win a prize. To enter and for more details about the Challenge, go to DriventoQuit.ca or call the Canadian Cancer Society’s Smokers’ Helpline at 1 877-513-5333.
Since 2006, the Driven to Quit Challenge has inspired more than 213,000 quit attempts in Ontario.
Facts about quitting smoking
• The majority of smokers in Ontario want to quit1 and know that it is the number one thing that they can do for their health.
• It often requires several attempts to beat tobacco addiction for good. The Ontario Tobacco Research Unit suggests that it takes the average smoker 30 tries to quit successfully.2 This means that every quit attempt is important.
• Research shows if people who smoke can stop for one month they are 5 times more likely to be able to remain smoke-free for good.3
• Quitlines, such as Smokers’ Helpline, greatly increase the chances that a smoker will quit, more than doubling the chances of quitting successfully.4
• Quitline support combined with medication (such as nicotine replacement therapy) can more than triple the chances of quitting successfully.5
1 Ontario Tobacco Research Unit. Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy Monitoring Report. Toronto: Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, Special Report, January 2014.
2 Ontario Tobacco Research Unit. Quitting Smoking in Ontario: Findings from the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit. November 2013.
3 West, R, Stapleton, J., Clinical and public health significance of treatments to aid smoking cessation. European Respiratory Reveview, December 1, 2008 vol. 17 no. 110 199-204.
4 Fiore, MC, et al., Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update—Clinical Practice Guideline, U.S. Public Health Service, May 2008.