Aim to quit for good during National Non-Smoking Week

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January 19-25 is National Non-Smoking Week and the Cypress Health Region is taking the opportunity to encourage those struggling with tobacco addiction to quit for good. National Non-Smoking Week, founded in 1977, is one of Canada’s longest running and most important public education events. The 2014 theme is Truth in Advertising.

In Canada, tobacco use causes an estimated 37,000 deaths each year and is attributed to causing 30 per cent of cancer deaths including 85 per cent of lung cancer cases. Tobacco is the only consumer product that kills when used exactly as intended and it is as addictive as heroin and cocaine.

In the Cypress Health Region it is known that 14.2 per cent of residents smoke daily and 4.3 per cent smoke occasionally. In Saskatchewan, 25 per cent of youth say they’ve used flavoured tobacco and 20 per cent of youth smoke. These numbers respectively compare to 17 per cent and 11 per cent nationally.

For those who smoke, the benefits of quitting are broad. Within 20 minutes, blood pressure drops and your pulse returns to normal. After eight hours of quitting, carbon monoxide levels in your blood begin to drop. After just 24 hours your chance of having a heart attack begins to decrease and after 48 hours lung capacity begins to increase. Lung function can improve by as much as 20 per cent after theee months. Those who quit smoking for 12 months can be proud to know that their risk of heart disease and a smoking-related heart attack is cut in half.

“Smoking has many detriments to your health, usually not seen until much later, many times when it is too late. It is an easy habit to start, yet a difficult one to get out of,” commented Dr. David Torr, Consulting Medical Health Officer. “With help and determination though, one can quit and there are resources in the health region to help with that. I would encourage every smoker to consider quitting for the betterment of their health and utilize the resources we have in the health region to assist them with that.”

Provincially, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health will once again be running its View and Vote school initiative. View and Vote gives students Grades 6 to 12 an opportunity to view 12 of the world's best anti-tobacco television ads and voice their opinion. Teachers guide students as they watch the ads and encourage them to engage in discussions and think critically about tobacco use. Students select the ad they feel is the most effective in helping them to remain tobacco-free or make them think about quitting. That ad is then aired online and at movie theatres throughout the province in June.

For information and support in leaving your tobacco addiction behind please visit www.smokershelpline.ca or www.cancer.ca. For more information on National Non-Smoking Week and its various initiatives please visit www.gov.sk.ca and www.nnsw.ca.

Organizations: National Non-Smoking Week, Saskatchewan Ministry of Health

Geographic location: Canada, Saskatchewan

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