This Version Posted: January 30, 2020

Many Benefits to Quitting Smoking… and Many Local Resources to Help You Succeed

When it comes to ending relationships, breaking it off with smoking can give you some much-needed breathing space.

Public Health Nurse Karen Taylor knows this full well, noting that as soon as you stop smoking, you start to feel better. For example, your blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal 20 minutes after quitting. After 24 hours, your risk of heart attack starts to drop. Within 14 days of quitting, your circulation increases and the airways in your lungs relax. One year after quitting, your risk of smoking-related heart disease or stroke is cut in half.

“Quitting smoking pays off almost immediately, and the great news is that there are supports and resources close at hand to help you succeed,” says Taylor, a nurse with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit.

During National Non-Smoking Week (Jan. 19-25), the Health Unit encourages local smokers to access the following free quit-smoking programs and contest:

  • If you’re 18-29 years of age, the Ultimate Break It Off Challenge is for you. There are three paths to win cash prizes: break it off from quitting, staying smoke free, or referring/supporting a friend to quit. Choose the contest path that fits your goals. Visit this website before Feb. 6 to enter and win.
  • Local health care providers can help with advice, support and resources to help smokers quit. Family Health Teams and Community Health Centres also provide free assistance and free nicotine-replacement products (like gum and patches). Contact your local health care provider or Family Health Team for more details.
  • Many pharmacists are trained to provide support to people trying to quit. Pharmacists can help you identify the best way to quit, including prescribing the right quit-smoking medications. If you get coverage through the Ontario Drug Benefit, you may be eligible for free counseling and medication. Contact your local pharmacy for more details.
  • Help to quit smoking is just a phone call away. Telehealth Ontario is a free, confidential service for health advice and information provided by the provincial government. By phoning TeleHealth toll-free at 1-866-797-0000, callers can speak to a Registered Nurse for advice, care and referrals to quit smoking.
  • Visiting the Smokers’ Helpline website provides people trying to quit with many resources and information, including an online chat room, text messaging service and email support.

For media inquiries, contact:

Karen Taylor, Public Health Nurse, HKPR District Health Unit, 1-866-888-4577, ext. 2240.