Lung association seeks input from 3 communities that tend to smoke more

The Lung Association of Nova Scotia and P.E.I. wants to know why smoking is more prevalent within certain communities, with an eye to figuring out how to help members of those groups quit.

People with lower incomes (under $40,000 a year), Indigenous people, and members of the LGBTQ communities have smoking rates two or more times higher than those of other Canadian communities, according to a spokesperson for the association, which abbreviates its name as LungNSPEI.

It has launched a project inviting people aged 16 and up from those communities to share their opinions, either through an online survey or by participating in a focus group or sharing circle.

Provincial smoking cessation programs offer nicotine replacement therapy, but Julia Hartley of LungNSPEI said they are looking for unique ways to serve communities where the uptake of that tool has been slower.

Federal funding

"We would like to see some more counselling added to the program so there might be opportunities for really in-depth counselling; maybe that's what people are looking for," Hartley told CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin on Tuesday.

"Or maybe they're looking for virtual counselling, where they could kind of anonymously contribute to working with others to quit smoking… That's what we're trying to discover with this study."

The 18-month program is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Officials will use the data to develop tools and better programming specific to the communities being surveyed.

How to participate

People who want to learn more about voicing their opinion can visit the LungNSPEI website, contact LungNSPEI by phone at 902-892-5957 (toll-free 1-888-566-5864) or email

The association is offering a $10 gift card for completing the survey, a $30 gift card for participating in the one-hour focus group, and a $50 gift card for participating in the sharing circle, which could take more than two hours.