Michael Jessen

Michael Jessen

Coaches help Nelson smokers go smoke-free

To get better at something, it pays to have a good coach. This is especially true when trying to break a habit such as smoking.

To get better at something, it pays to have a good coach. This is especially true when trying to break a habit such as smoking.

“There is no easy fix to going smoke-free,” says Michael Jessen, the BC Lung Association’s volunteer director in Nelson. “However, while there may be no magic bullet the BCLA’s QuitNow program is certainly a successful approach.”

The reason why the QuitNow approach is so successful, explains Jessen, is that it is personally tailored to each individual. At the heart of this approach are the program’s Quit Coaches trained cessation counsellors who help guide smokers through the planning and preparation process.

“People who made full use of the QuitNow program — including free, one-on-one counselling with a Quit Coach have seen amazing results: 24 per cent success rate versus four to seven per cent for those going it alone,” says Jessen.

QuitNow.ca is a free province-wide smoking cessation resource managed by the BC Lung Association and funded by the BC Ministry of Health.

Danielle Kochan, a Quit Coach with the program for five years, explains their motivational interviewing process. “Everybody has their own story of why they smoke and what’s motivating them to quit. No two calls are ever the same, and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for the next.”

Noting that on average it takes eight major attempts before anybody quits smoking, Danielle tells people not to be discouraged by setbacks along the way. “I like to teach people to think of slips and relapses as opportunities to learn what triggers their smoking. Once you understand what’s driving you to smoke you can plan to be better prepared in the future.”

Since 2011, QuitNow has helped more than 20,000 British Columbians with their quitting process. Quit Coaches are available to talk via phone (1-877-455-2233) or live chat at QuitNow.ca, where people can also find a comprehensive planning tool, a community forum, and information about the BC Cessation Program, which offers free quitting aids such as the gum and patch.

Jan. 17 to 23 is National Non-Smoking Week in Canada.“There is no better time to find out if a QuitNow coach can be your best chance to breaking your smoking habit,” Jessen concludes.

A non-profit and volunteer-based health charity, the BC Lung Association has been dedicated to its mission of promoting and improving lung health for all British Columbians for more than 100 years. Eliminating tobacco-related lung disease in future generations is one of the Lung Association’s key objectives. For further information contact Michael Jessen, 250-229-5632, email zerowaste@shaw.ca or visit bclung.ca.