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TIME TO BUTT OUT

- National Non-Smoking Week is Ideal Time to Become a Quitter; Free Nicotine Patches and Resources Can Help -

It’s the time of year when it pays to be a quitter.

Better health, increased energy, and more money in your pocket are just some of the benefits that await local smokers who are trying to quit. With Weedless Wednesday (January 23) and National Non-Smoking Week (January 20 to 26) being marked next week, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is encouraging smokers in the area to consider the benefits of becoming smoke-free.

“There is no better time than now to consider the benefits of quitting smoking,” says Marjorie Oke, a Program Co-ordinator with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Within hours and minutes of becoming smoke-free, you are making a difference in improving the health and quality of life for you and your loved ones.”

Research shows that 20 minutes after the last cigarette, a smoker’s blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal. Two days after quitting, a person’s sense of smell and taste begin to improve and the chance of having a heart attack begins to decrease. One year after quitting, a smoker’s risk of heart disease is cut by one-half.

Karen Taylor, a Public Health Nurse with the HKPR District Health Unit, says becoming smoke-free is not without its challenges, especially given the addictive nature of nicotine in cigarettes. “Whether it is your first, fourth or fifth try to quit smoking, take heart in the knowledge that you are on the right path,” she says. “Every quit attempt will bring you closer to success.”

To improve the chances of quitting, the Health Unit is highlighting two free programs that can help smokers succeed:

  • The STOP (Smoking Treatment for Ontario Patients) Program comes to Lindsay on February 12 and 13, and to Cobourg and Port Hope on February 28. STOP is being offered by the Health Unit in partnership with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Smokers who attend the STOP Program will be provided with five weeks of free nicotine patches, as well as educational material and other resources to help in the quitting process. To attend the STOP session, local smokers must complete an initial screening by phone. To attend the STOP sessions in Lindsay, call the Health Unit at (705) 324-3569. To attend the STOP sessions in Cobourg and Port Hope, call the Health Unit at (905) 885-9100, ext. 329, or toll-free at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 329.
  • The Smokers’ Helpline (1-877-513-5333 or visit www.smokershelpline.ca) has free and personalized tools to help people successfully quit, including a text-messaging service, ‘Quit Metre’ and one-to-one support with a Quit Coach. The Smokers’ Helpline is a program of the Canadian Cancer Society.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Marjorie Oke, Program Co-ordinator, HKPR District Health Unit, (613) 475-0933,

or Karen Taylor, Public Health Nurse, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100,

or Dearbhla Lynch, Health Promoter, HKPR District Health Unit, (705) 324-3569.

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