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- Local Resident’s Smoke-Free Success Story Also Sees Him Win $1,000 in Run to Quit Contest -

(NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY) – A desire to quit smoking has turned into a ‘grand’ idea for Alexander Stephens.

Not only did the Northumberland County resident successfully quit smoking, he also won $1,000 in the Canadian Cancer Society’s Run to Quit Contest. “Better health was the main prize I won by becoming smoke-free,” says Stephens. “Winning the Run to Quit cash prize was a bonus!”

After visiting his doctor in Fall 2016, Stephens realized he needed to make a drastic change in his lifestyle. Smoking was his way of relieving stress – especially from work – but it was also negatively affecting his overall health. “I didn’t realize I was an addict when it came to smoking,” he admits. “I decided it was best to get help now to quit smoking, and not wait until after I was six-feet under.”

With the encouragement of his wife, Stephens began looking for quit-smoking support programs to help him break his tobacco addiction. The Run to Quit contest appealed to him, because the program encourages participants to be physically active to help them adjust to tobacco-free living. Run to Quit aims to support and encourage participants to quit smoking by learning to run or walk up to five kilometres.

Says Stephens: “Being physically active made a big difference for me. Running and walking helped divert my attention from smoking.” Stephens also turned to nicotine replacement therapy to further assist him in his quit efforts. In the end, it all paid off as Stephens has been smoke-free for several months.

“His determination and commitment is inspiring,” says Karen Kuzmich, a Senior Coordinator with Run to Quit. “Alexander admits that before joining the Run to Quit challenge, he walked occasionally, but now he walks all over town every day. Stress used to make Alexander reach for tobacco products, but now he turns to walking to destress and stay smoke-free.”

Karen Taylor hopes Alexander Stephen’s success in quitting smoking inspires others to consider becoming tobacco-free. “Making the decision to become tobacco-free benefits your health and provides positive outcomes for your family members, especially in reducing their exposure to second-hand smoke,” says Taylor, a Public Health Nurse with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. “Even if your effort to stop smoking doesn’t work out right away, take heart because every quit attempt brings you closer to quitting for good.”

People who want to make Run to Quit part of their next quit attempt can register for the fall round of the quit challenge. According to Taylor, there are many other free programs and resources to help people go tobacco-free. For information and support to quit, people can contact the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 2240, or visit the Quit Smoking Resources web page.

For media inquiries, contact:

Karen Taylor, Public Health Nurse, HKPR District Health Unit, (705) 324-3569, or 1-866-888-4577, ext. 2240,

or Karen Kuzmich, Senior Coordinator, Run to Quit, (905) 387-4322, ext. 5629.

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«January 2019»