With the holiday season upon us, many people are making plans to improve their health during the coming year. If you’re one of them, why not consider a New Year’s resolution to quit commercial tobacco or vapour use?
Because your body comes to depend on the nicotine in tobacco and vapour products, quitting can be difficult. However, tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in Canada and has negative health effects for all ages. Quitting now can decrease your risk for diseases caused by smoking and leave you feeling stronger and healthier. Being able to stay tobacco and/or vapour-free is key, and with help from provincial cessation programs, you can do it!
Eight tips to improve your chances of quitting:
- Make a plan: Make a list of reasons for making this change and post it to refer back to.
- Set a date: Remember, this is a lifestyle change! To help make sure you stay tobacco and/or vapour-free, plan in advance how to handle triggers or risky situations.
- Detox tobacco and vapour: Get rid of your tobacco and vapour products (vape, pods, cigarettes, chew, and ashtrays), as well as anything that reminds you of these products
- Build a support system: Have open dialogue with friends, family, and coworkers. This can keep you on track.
- Know your cues: If you need to hold something in the absence of a vape device, cigarette, or tin of chew, substitute a stress ball, stick of celery, carrot, or pen.
- Get counselling: Evidence shows that having a counselor or peer support group helps people quit.
- Use cessation services (see resources below!): If you want to quit tobacco, you’re more likely to succeed if you use these services in combination with nicotine replacement therapy and/ or medication. This combo makes you three to four times more successful at quitting tobacco.
- Celebrate your wins! Give yourself credit for all the hard work. Remember, if you slip up, don’t be hard on yourself. Tomorrow is a new day – continue on the path to quit.
Having the right tools, supports, and coping mechanisms in place can help improve your overall chances of living tobacco and/or vapour-free. If you want to quit or decrease your use, talk to your primary care provider (doctor or nurse practitioner).
Tobacco and vapour cessation resources:
- QuitNow offers free information, support, and counseling by trained professionals via phone, text, or email.
- The BC Smoking Cessation Program: Everyone in BC can access 12 weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy (gum, patch, inhaler, and lozenges) per calendar year through their local pharmacy.
- The First Nations Health Authority benefits program offers supplementary coverage for nicotine replacement therapy.