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Program helps smokers break free of ‘tenacious addiction’ 

Jump to full article: National Post (ca), 2012-02-21
Author: A Joint Venture with the Canadian Cancer Society

Intro:

Aleksandra Jokic proudly says she has just marked her first anniversary without a cigarette after more than 25 years as a smoker.

“I tried to quit before, maybe four or five times, but this time it is completely different,” says the Toronto resident, who is registered with the Canadian Cancer Society’s Driven to Quit program (www.driventoquit.ca).

“My partner saw a brochure that made quitting a game,” she says. The CCS program offers registered participants the chance to win a car and other prizes if they are smoke-free for a month. “The prize wasn’t the motivation in itself. But I thought that since I was thinking about quitting anyway, I might as well register.”

At that time, adds Jokic, who works in an auto insurance office, she was still smoking and concerned that she might “fall off the wagon again.”

Previous attempts to quit, says Dr. Andrew Pipe, chief of the division of prevention and rehabilitation at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, are actually “powerful predictors of smoking cessation success, simply because the smoker derives a certain amount of experience with every attempt that ultimately becomes increasingly helpful.”

This has proved true for her, says Jokic. . . .

Ontario Medical Association president Dr. Stewart Kennedy, a family physician in Thunder Bay, notes that “contrary to those who claim smoking is just a lifestyle choice, tobacco addiction is a real medical diagnosis. We can try to prevent people from smoking, but once hooked, quitting is very difficult. . . .

The good news is that it is never too late to give up smoking.

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