Quitting smoking can be one of the hardest decisions a person can make in their lifetime. National Non-Smoking Week runs until January 23 and Dr. Allison Gonsalves, the medical officer of health for the South Zone with Alberta Health Services told us about the health risks associated with tobacco and smoking.
“Smoking and commercial tobacco use in general is associated with heart disease, lung cancer, which kills more than 4,000 Albertans every year. Oral cancers can lead to peripheral vascular disease, diabetes, COPD so it’s really important to take charge of your health and quitting commercial tobacco is one of the most important ways to do that. It’s the leading cause of premature disability, premature death and disease. So I really encourage all Albertans if you currently use commercial tobacco or, you know someone who does, to really consider the resources that AHS has at your disposal.”
Those resources include:
- AlbertaQuits Helpline,1-866-710-QUIT (7848), which provides one-to-one telephone counselling.
- Free text message service that gives tips and motivational messaging to help people quit. The text service includes support for quitting vaping and a live chat feature with quit counsellors. Enroll today by texting ABQUITS to 123456.
- The website albertaquits.ca, which provides information and tools for preparing people to quit.
- QuitCore, a group support program that provides individuals with the strategies and skills they need to quit tobacco, while connecting them with others who are also trying to quit. This program is offered in person, as well as virtually through Zoom.
According to the 2021 Canadian Community Health Survey, tobacco use has been steadily declining for the last 20 years across the country.