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Quit Smoking and Vaping

The HKPR District Health Unit plays a pivotal role in raising awareness about the dangers associated with smoking and vaping, while also providing essential resources and interventions to support those looking to quit.

Through education, policy initiatives, and community outreach, public health is at the forefront of efforts to combat the detrimental impact of smoking and vaping, ultimately striving to create healthier communities for all.


Smoking tobacco is the number one cause of preventable disease and death in Canada. It reduces your overall health and has negative health effects on nearly every organ in the body. Half of all long-term users will die of a tobacco-related illness. Learn more about the health effects of smoking from Health Canada.

First Nations peoples have been using traditional or sacred tobacco for thousands of years. Traditional or sacred tobacco differs from commercial tobacco in that it is used in ceremonial or sacred rituals for healing and purifying.

It is grown and dried and so has no additives. First Nations elders teach that tobacco was one of the 4 sacred medicines (Tobacco, Cedar, Sage and Sweetgrass), which was given by the Creator to the first peoples of this land.

There is no safe level of second-hand smoke exposure; health risks increase the more you are exposed. Learn more about second-hand smoke and how it affects you from the Canadian Cancer Society.

Third-hand smoke is the toxic chemicals from smoke that settle into fabrics, carpet, skin, hair, toys and walls. Third hand smoke can also have harmful effects your home and vehicle smoke free are the best ways to protect yourself and your family.

Smoking increases your risk of developing a respiratory (breathing) illness such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – a term that includes both emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It also worsens respiratory conditions such as asthma. The Lung Health Foundation provides information on asthma and other respiratory conditions caused or affected by smoking.

Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of:

  • Early delivery
  • Stillbirth (death of the baby before birth)
  • Low birth weight
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (known as SIDS or crib death)
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Orofacial clefts in infants

Quitting smoking is one of the best ways to improve your health – and that of your loved ones. It’s never too late to quit. As soon as you stop smoking, you start to experience health benefits.

Need support to quit smoking? Here are resources to help:

Nicotine Replacement Therapy 

What is Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

NRT refers to the nicotine patch, gum, inhaler and lozenge. NRT has been approved by Health Canada as an effective medication for helping people to quit smoking as it helps to reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Ask your health care provider or pharmacist if NRT is appropriate for you. It provides a “clean” form of nicotine without the other dangerous chemicals found in cigarettes.  

The nicotine from NRT is absorbed into your body much more slowly and in lower doses than from cigarettes. It does not contain the harmful chemicals that are in cigarettes. Health Canada has approved three types of medications for helping people quit smoking. If used properly, these medications can positively affect the quit rates. 


Vaping is not harmless. The health effects are still being studied as these products are still relatively new and more research is needed. Some research has shown that vaping has short-term health and that vape products contain many harmful chemicals. The long-term health impacts of vaping are currently not known.

Quitting Vaping: Tips and Tricks for Young Adults (ages 19-29)

Quitting vaping can be a daunting process for many young adults. Research shows that the needs and resources to help youth (grades 7-12) successfully quit, differ from the needs of young adults (ages 19-29) and adults (ages 30 plus). 

Quitting vaping can be a daunting process for many young adults. Research shows that the needs and resources to help youth (grades 7-12) successfully quit, differ from the needs of young adults (ages 19-29) and adults (ages 30 plus). 

Are you a young adult ready to quit vaping? With the right tips and tricks, you can be on your way to living a healthier life free of vaping. 

Quitting vaping is essential for long-term health and wellness. Addiction to nicotine in the growing brain can set up pathways for later addiction to other substances, while the chemicals and fine particles in the vapor can be inhaled into the lungs and exhaled into the environment. In addition, vaping can increase the likelihood of trying other tobacco products, like cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco. To protect your health, it’s important to your overall health to stop vaping. 

Vaping can be an incredibly addictive habit that can have serious health consequences. Nicotine, a drug found in most e-cigarettes, is highly addictive and can lead to anxiety and depression. Those who vape may be more likely to start smoking regular (tobacco) cigarettes and can even develop other addictions in the future. Research suggests vaping may cause impotence in men, sleep problems, and exposure to cancer-causing chemicals. Chronic bronchitis and lung damage are possible life-threatening risks of vaping. To stop vaping, it’s important to understand the risks associated with it and take steps to quit. 

Quitting vaping is one of the most important steps you can take to improve your health. Stopping vaping can help you avoid serious health risks, such as cardiovascular disease, lung damage, and respiratory problems. By quitting vaping, you’ll be able to reduce your chances of having a heart attack and other heart-related issues. Additionally, quitting vaping will improve your blood circulation and enable your lungs to begin healing. This will result in fewer coughing episodes and improved breathing ability during physical activity. Quitting vaping also helps you avoid the short-term effects of nicotine addiction, such as headaches, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. 

  1. Decide why you want to quit and write it down or put it in your phone.  
  2. Pick a day to stop vaping. Put it on the calendar and tell supportive friends and family that you’re quitting on that day. 
  3. Get rid of all vaping supplies. 
  4. Download tools (such as apps and texting programs) to your phone that can help with cravings and give encouragement while you try to stop vaping. 
  5. Understand withdrawal and be prepared for the signs of withdrawal. 
  6. Avoid places and people that trigger the urge to vape. 

The signs of withdrawal are strongest in the first few days after stopping. They get better over the following days and weeks. 

Get ready for feelings, people, and places that make you want to vape. If possible, avoid places and people that trigger the urge to vape. If you feel the urge to vape, try these things instead: 

  • Chew sugar-free gum or drink water 
  • Text, call, or hang out with a friend who will support you 
  • Listen to your favorite playlist 
  • Go for a walk or jog 
  • Try yoga or meditation 
  • Take 10 deep breaths 
  • Keep your hands busy with a hobby, like drawing 
  • Go somewhere where smoking/vaping isn’t allowed 

Quitting vaping is a new and emerging process. Discuss quitting vaping with a health care provider or pharmacist, who may be able to provide additional advice, support, and resources (for example, nicotine replacement therapy medication). 

The QUASH App and the My Change Plan App can help with quitting vaping. 


Decorative - Screen shot of QUASH web page
  • QUASH is available for young adults who are thinking about quitting vaping. The app can assist with feeling better about health, saving money and take back control over health. Visit QUASH to make a quit plan that’s right for you. QUASH helps you quit smoking or vaping. 

My Change Plan App:

  • Visit My Change Plan or download the free App for more tips on planning your quit attempt.

Quitting Vaping: Tips and Tricks for Youth (grades 7 – 12)

Are you ready to quit vaping? With the right tips and tricks, you can be on your way to living a healthier life free of vaping. Get insight into the best ways to quit vaping and live a healthier lifestyle.

It starts with planning: 

  • What are the top three reasons why you want to quit?  
  • Write these down. 

The ‘Not An Experiment’ website can help you with quitting vaping or help with quitting tobacco products. Vaping has long-term negative health effects visit for information about going vape-free for good!

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Be prepared for withdrawal symptoms and have a plan to deal with the symptoms. You may experience: 

  • Feeling anxious 
  • Feeling sad  
  • Feeling tired 
  • Headaches 
  • Trouble sleeping 
  • Strong urge to vape 

Withdrawal symptoms are normal and will get better over time. If your symptoms do not go away, talk to your health care provider or pharmacist. 

Be aware of triggers that can affect you: 

  • Triggers can be places 
  • Triggers can be people 
  • Avoid triggers, temptations and cravings by being aware of them and having a plan to deal with them 

Think about ways to deal with triggers, withdrawal or cravings: 

  • Drink water. Deep breathing. Distract yourself. 
  • Talk to a friend. Text a friend. 
  • Stay busy. Get active. Go for a walk. Climb stairs. 
  • Chew sugar free gum. Read a book. Doodle. 

Think about people who will be there to support you when you are quitting: 

  • Make a list of people who you can turn to for support 
  • The list includes people you can talk to about quitting 
  • The list includes people you can depend on while quitting 
  • The list may include your health care provider or your pharmacist 
  • People on your list are good role models, or good listeners, or are very encouraging or are very patient and caring.  
  • Let them know how you would like to be supported when quitting 

Reward yourself: 

  • Think of ways to reward yourself when quitting 
  • Make a list 
  • Reward yourself after you have quit for a day, a weekend or a week. 

Need for more information?

Check out these related resources

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