Michael Jessen

Michael Jessen

Nelson smokers challenged to quit for a day

BC has the lowest smoking rate in Canada – just 11.4 percent — and so has much to celebrate on World No Tobacco Day.

BC has the lowest smoking rate in Canada – just 11.4 percent — and so has much to celebrate on World No Tobacco Day. The BC Lung Association believes we can do better still, and is calling on the 500,000 British Columbians who continue to smoke to commit to a 24-hour quit by signing up for the Tobacco Free Tuesday contest on June 2.

Held on the first Tuesday of every month, Tobacco-Free Tuesdays provides aspiring quitters the challenge and incentive to quit smoking for 24 hours for their chance to win $250 cash – about the equivalent a pack-a-day smoker will save a month by quitting. The contest is open to all British Columbians who are current or recently-quit smokers and 19 or older.

“Today, there are more than twice as many former smokers than there are current smokers. Quitting smoking may not be easy, but clearly it can be done,” says Michael Jessen, BC Lung Association volunteer director for Nelson.

“The goal of the contest is to give people the extra motivation they need to overcome their fears of failure, the incentive to commit to a day, and ultimately the confidence of achieving that first 24 hour milestone,” explains Jessen. “The trick to quitting smoking is that there is no trick. You’ve just got to go for it — and stay persistent!”

Research shows that about two thirds of Canadian smokers intend to quit in the next six months, says Jack Boomer, QuitNow director for the BC Lung Association, citing the 2015 Tobacco Use in Canada report.

“Most people struggle to quit smoking not for a lack of will power. The reality is that nicotine is highly addictive — more so than even cocaine. As a result, very few people quit the first time they try and on average it takes six to seven serious tries to quit for good — sometimes even more,” adds Boomer.

In addition to motivation, the contest also serves as an entry point into the BC Lung Association’s free, online support service, QuitNow.ca.

“While there may be no “silver bullet” to beating tobacco addiction, there are many proven-tools that can help increase your chances of success,” continues Boomer.

“We highly recommend that people who want to quit take advantage of all the free services and resources that QuitNow has to offer. We offer free one-on-one counselling by phone and instant chat, as well as an online planning tool, text and email reminders, a community forum, and much more,” says Boomer.