‘World No Tobacco Day’
Prince George, B.C. – Today is ‘World No Tobacco Day,’ and Northern Health is reminding people its working hard to address smoking and its deadly after-effects.
“We are developing systems to address tobacco with all our patients to ask about tobacco, advise people to quit and give them some resources to quit,” says Nancy Viney, regional nursing lead, tobacco reduction. “We also want to make sure that our patients who use tobacco are treated for withdrawal in our hospitals.”
She says that includes giving them replacement therapies like the patch and inhalers.
Viney says there may be even more help on the horizon from the federal government in the form of plain packaging.
“Some countries like Australia have implemented a plain packaging law for tobacco which is really great because the only message on the package is the health warnings. And they’re less appealing to youth.”
She says it’s working in helping reducing smoking rates there and says it may not be long before they are introduced in Canada.
“The Liberal government is planning to implement plain packaging – when they were elected that was a promise that they were going to look at for tobacco reduction, so I think we are moving in that direction.”
Statistics show northerners could use all the help they can get when trying to quit smoking. For example, Viney says smoking rates in northern, B.C. remain the highest in the province (in the 20-25% range).
“There’s a variety of reasons but we’re very much in line with other northern communities. I think more people work outside where they can still smoke in the workplace. It’s just more of the norm of behaviour amongst the population that live in northern, B.C.”
She adds however there are plenty of resources available to help you quit.
“QuitNow services provides online services or counselling by text or phone. You can find this website at www.quitnow.ca or you can call Health Link at 8-1-1 and they’ll connect you by phone.”
In addition to that, she says the BC Smoking Cessation program provides 12 weeks of patches, gum, inhalers or lozenges each calendar year.
You can sign up for the program at your local pharmacy.