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Health Matters: Quitting smoking and tobacco products

This month is Heart Health Month!

Smoking and tobacco use is a major cause of heart disease. Did you know that smokers are three times more likely to have a stroke or die of heart disease? Smoking makes your heart work harder, reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood, and increases the risk of blood clots.

Rates of smoking in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario are higher than the Provincial average (22 per cent vs. 16 per cent).

Quitting smoking is hard, no question about it! It takes a smoker, on average, 30 attempts before they successfully quit! To quit smoking for good, you need to address the physical addiction along with the psychological habits that go along with it.

There are a number of strategies you can use such as quitting cold turkey or gradually, by using medication, or accessing counselling or support groups. Most people find a combination of resources work best. If you’re thinking about quitting, here are some resources for you:

  • The Thunder Bay District Health Unit offers a variety of programs such as “Take Control” and “STOP on the Road”
  • The STOP program which is delivered through many Family Health Teams and Health Access Centres such as Norwest Community Health Centre, Dilico Family Health Team, Harbourview Health Team, and Fort William Family Health Team
  • Dr. Jim Morris, also known as the “Quit Coach”
  • Your local pharmacist

The following websites can help too:

The best thing all smokers can do for their heart is to quit smoking. Whether it’s your first, fifteenth or thirtieth attempt to quit smoking, have a plan in place to boost your chances of success. Draw on the support of your friends, family and co-workers to help you when the going gets tough and give yourself credit for what you do accomplish.