Attempting to quit smoking or vaping is more important than ever

·2 min read

Each year the third week of January is recognized as National Non-Smoking Week. Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health is reminding vape and tobacco users that quitting is never easy and not to get discouraged.

While pandemic related stress may have impacted some individuals’ plans to quit, HPEPH says that perseverance will pay off, although quitting tobacco smoking or vaping may sometimes take between 7 and 30 tries.

Respiratory viruses such as COVID-19 impact an individual’s lungs, and quitting smoking or vaping can reduce the chances of experiencing more severe symptoms of viruses and illnesses.

HPEPH explained that recent research shows that smokers who become sick with COVID-19 are more likely to have worse symptoms, be admitted to an ICU or pass away as compared to non-smokers. Smoking and vaping may also increase chances of contracting COVID-19 or other viruses since smoking requires individuals to remove their mask as well as increasing hand to mouth contact.

HPEPH also said that the benefits of quitting can be experienced within 20 minutes after the last cigarette and can continue to be seen for up to 15 years.

During the pandemic, HPEPH is offering limited in-person services with additional supports and services available to help residents interested in quitting smoking tobacco or vapes.

Residents interested in speaking to a trained quit specialist can call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or online at smokershelpline.ca.

Canadian Addictions and Mental Health also offers a STOP on the Net program that provides online support as well as 4 weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy. More information can be found online at nicotinedependenceclinic.com.

Youth-friendly support is available at breakitoff.ca, and local high school students can contact their school Public Health Nurse to discuss quit options. School nurses remain available during remote schooling, and students are advised to call their school’s guidance office for more information.

Residents looking for more information about support resources are encouraged to contact HPEPH’s Tobacco Talk Line at 613-966-5500 ext. 600, or visit hpePublicHealth.ca/vaping or hpePublicHealth.ca/quit-smoking-program.

Virginia Clinton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Intelligencer