If you’ve been a life-long smoker, you might wonder if quitting is even worth it. Maybe the fear of nicotine withdrawal or the cravings prevent you from the whole idea of quitting, or maybe you have tried to quit before (that’s common! It almost always takes several attempts to stop smoking before being successful).
Or you may wonder, “The damage is done, so does it really make a difference?”
Any concerns you have about quitting smoking are roadblocks to trying. The solution? List your concerns and educate yourself about them. When you create your quit-smoking plan, you can include specific steps to address these concerns.
I’m concerned about withdrawal symptoms
Everyone experiences withdrawal symptoms when they quit smoking. Sometimes these are minor; sometimes more troublesome. But all withdrawal symptoms can be managed. Sometimes it’s a small change (e.g. drinking more water) and sometimes medication helps (e.g. a nicotine replacement product like a patch).
I’m concerned about gaining weight
Some people (about 1 in 5) gain weight when they quit smoking. Weight gain may be due to changes in metabolism or eating patterns. The solution? Make sure your quit-smoking plan includes regular exercise, low calorie snacks, and a balanced diet.
I’m concerned about how much stress I will feel
Any stress you feel after you first quit smoking is likely due to your cravings and your change of behaviours. As time passes, your body will start becoming more and more relaxed, your heart rate will slow, you will start sleeping better, and your body will use oxygen more efficiently.
I’m concerned about losing my friends
You don’t have to lose anything when you quit smoking except smoking itself. Yes, you might need to avoid friends who smoke until you are strong enough to not light up with them, but eventually you will rejoin them. If you encourage them to spend time with you doing activities that don’t involve smoking, you won’t have to spend time away from them at all. You might even be a good role model for these friends, inspiring them to quit smoking with you.
I’m concerned that I will fail
Occasional setbacks are part of the quit-smoking process.
The only failure is never trying again. As long as you keep your commitment high and you adjust your quit smoking plan to reflect what you learn from setbacks, you will be a success!
Quit Smoking Resources
The following is a list of helplines and resources. New resources are continually available, and the contact information for some of these resources may change. For the most up-to-date information, do an internet search for “quit smoking programs.”
- Provincial Smokers’ Helplines
- British Columbia (1.877.455.2233)
- Yukon (1.866.221.8393)
- Nunavut (1.866.877.3845)
- Northwest Territories (1.867.920.8826)
- Alberta (1.866.332-2322 and alberta.quitnet.com)
- Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia (1.877.513.5333)
- Prince Edward Island (1.888.818.6300)
- Quebec (1.866.527.7383)
- Newfoundland, Labrador (1.800.363.5864)
Resources For Youths
- Quit4Life (www.quit4life.ca) is a Health Canada program for 12 to 18 year olds.
- Smoke-FX (www.smoke-fx.com) is Ontario-based and has many useful resources to aid in quitting smoking as well as an advocacy tool kit.
- Smoking Zine (www.smokingzine.org) is a University of Toronto smoking cessation program for teens.
- Inventory of Canadian Tobacco Cessation Programs and Resources (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/pubs/tobac-tabac/ictcpr-rrpcrt/index-eng.php). A listing of smoking cessation programs that are available nation-wide or province-wide.
- Health Canada (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca). Health Canada has numerous resources to help smokers quit. Search the “It’s your health” section of the Health Canada site or use the A-Z index to find out about the latest programs and information they offer.
- Canadian Cancer Society (www.cancer.ca or 1.888.939.3333)
- Canadian Lung Association (www.lung.ca)
- Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
- National Clearinghouse on Tobacco and Health
- Non-smoker’s right association (www.nsra-adnf.ca)
- Physicians for a smoke-free Canada (www.smoke-free.ca)
- Conseil québécois sur le tabac et la santé (www.cqts.qc.ca)