KAWARTHA LAKES- “Quitting smoking is easy; I’ve done it thousands of times.” This quote, attributed to famous American author Mark Twain, isn’t far off the mark, according to the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit.
Statistics show it can take many quit attempts to finally stop smoking for good, which is why National Non-Smoking Week (January 21-27) and Weedless Wednesday (January 24) are excellent times to try, try again. “While the first quit attempt may not always work out, every additional time you try can bring you closer to smoke-free success,” says Karen Taylor, a Public Health Nurse with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Going tobacco-free is a great way to improve your health, and reduce second-hand or third-hand smoke into the environment.”
There are many free quit-smoking resources, programs and contests to help people in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes go tobacco-free. These include:
- The S.T.O.P. (Smoking Treatment for Ontario Patients) Program offered by the Health Unit in Lindsay (January 23 and March 8), Port Hope (January 25), Haliburton (February 6) and Cobourg (February 27). The no-cost program provides quit-smoking resources and five weeks of free nicotine patches for participants. To see if they qualify for the program, smokers can call the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 2240.
- The First Week Challenge Contest (www.
firstweekchallengecontest.ca) encourages Ontario smokers to give up tobacco for one week for a chance to win $500. Entrants must sign up by the last day of the month and stay tobacco-free for the first week of the next month. Every month through 2018, a new winner will be randomly chosen. The First Week Challenge Contest is organized by the Canadian Cancer Society.
- Cash prizes can be the motivation for young adults to quit smoking. People aged 18-29 years are encouraged to enter the Wouldurather (www.wouldurather.ca) quit-smoking contest by January 28, 2018. By becoming smoke-free, contest entrants can win cash prizes up to $2,500. Wouldurather is organized by Leave the Pack Behind.
- Many health care professionals in Haliburton County, Northumberland County and the City of Kawartha Lakes can provide advice, support and resources to help smokers trying to quit. To find out what is available in their community, local residents can visit the Health Unit website (www.hkpr.on.ca) for a complete list of services.
- Smokers’ Helpline (www.smokershelpline.ca or toll-free 1-877-513-5333) is a free, confidential service operated by the Canadian Cancer Society that offers support and information about quitting smoking and tobacco use.