January is Tobacco Reduction Month, and Smokers’ Helpline has been working hard to provide the public with education and support to quit smoking. Smokers’ Helpline is a free and confidential service that offers information and support on how to quit smoking or how to talk to a person who smokes about quitting. They provide this support and education by phone, text or online services. Jeff Werner, Senior Coordinator for Smokers’ Helpline in the Northwestern Region, has outlined everything you need to know about Smokers’ Helpline and the importance of quitting smoking.
Quitting smoking is a personal and individualized experience. “Different techniques work for different people, and that is why Smokers’ Helpline has multiple options,” explains Werner. All of Smokers’ Helpline’s services are evaluated to ensure their effectiveness, and provide an individualized, non-judgmental, supportive, and educational approach to quitting.
Phone: The telephone service has extended hours during the weekdays and operates on weekends as well. You can connect with a Quit Coach for education about how to quit and support throughout your quit journey.
Text: If you prefer to text rather than speaking over the phone, Smokers’ Helpline services can be accessed 24/7 by texting “IQUIT” to 123456. This initiates instant automated support texts that can be focused using key words. The key words include: edgy, craving, alcohol, smokers, stress, motivate, and slip. For example, if you text the word ‘craving’, Smokers’ Helpline will text you one of several messages like, ‘This is the hard part. Take it a minute at a time. You can fight through this. Write down your reasons for quitting and focus on them.’
Online: You also have access to the 24/7 online service which provides educational resources and includes a chat forum. “This forum is great for support. You see quitters helping quitters. Quit Coaches are regularly monitoring the chats to ensure the information is appropriate and correct” says Werner.
“Smoking is the single best thing you can do for your health. We all know that quitting smoking lengthens life, but it’s not all about how long you live, it is also about your quality of life,” insists Werner. “So many diseases are linked to smoking – cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – this is why quitting is so important.”
“On average it takes 30 attempts before someone is successful with quitting. Each time they attempt to quit, their bodies start to heal, and it’s a learning opportunity for the next time,” explains Werner.
Success is seen when individuals set a quit date for themselves. “A quit date gives people time to track their smoking habits before quitting. They track when they smoke, why they had that cigarette, what their mood was, and how many they had during the day,” explains Werner. “It also provides them with an opportunity to decide what cigarettes they can cut out first, and determine which ones will be easy, and which will be hard.” Setting a quit date also gives you time to find support, learn effective stress management techniques, and identify your personal triggers and peer pressures for smoking.
“In my six years of experience in helping people quit smoking, I’ve had many people tell me that they thought they could never quit smoking, but then they did it,” states Werner. “The key to quitting is to keep trying. We know that even if you are not successful at staying quit, you are setting yourself up for a success for the next time, so don’t quit quitting.”
If you are thinking about quitting, some opportunities from Smokers’ Helpline include:
Run To Quit!: A challenge to increase physical activity while quitting, get education and support on how to successfully quit, and a chance to win great prizes! Register at runtoquit.com
First Week Challenge: Quit smoking during the first week of the month, and you could win $500. Participants can enter during multiple months if they were not successful during their first try! Register at firstweekchallengecontest.ca
Connect With a Quit Coach: Join Smokers’ Helpline and connect with a Quit Coach to see if you are eligible to receive a trial pack of Nicorette Gum (15 pieces).
Call Smokers’ Helpline at 1-877-513-5333 or visit www.smokershelpline.ca for more information.