For many, the New Year represents a fresh start—and with nearly 16% of people in Ontario being smokers and tobacco users accounting for 30% of all cancer deaths in Canada, a popular resolution may be to quit smoking.
“We are thrilled to be able to motivate and reward individuals who quit smoking through The Driven to Quit Challenge! Quitting smoking is one of the most difficult things a person can face. In addition to providing a car and cash prizes, we know that people can be successful in quitting by making a plan and getting support through accessible resources such as our Smokers’ Helpline. We hope that Ontarians who smoke take the opportunity to quit to improve their health and make 2014 their healthiest year yet,” says John Atkinson, Director, Tobacco Control and Cancer Prevention, Canadian Cancer Society.
Follow this 5-step plan to help ensure that by next year, you’ll be celebrating a smoke-free anniversary!
1) Know your reasons for quitting
While winning a car is a great reason to quit, there are probably many others. Write down your reasons for quitting smoking and keep that list with you so you can refer to it often. A visual reminder just might be the encouragement you need to keep those temptations at bay. Try selecting a few of the most important reasons on your list and post them around the places you used to smoke.
2) Prepare for cravings and withdrawal symptoms
No matter how good your reasons are for quitting, you may still find yourself craving a cigarette. The best way to defeat temptation is to avoid it, so change your routine and stay away from the places you used to smoke. Avoid events with a lot of other smokers by suggesting alternative social gatherings that don’t emphasize smoking.
When withdrawal symptoms occur, remind yourself that they will only last a few days. You can manage withdrawal symptoms with some preparation.
|Withdrawal symptom||Suggested technique to deal with it|
|Headaches, Irritability||Relaxation exercises (e.g. deep breathing); listen to soothing music; drink lots of water; visualize a relaxing place/event|
|Trouble sleeping||Eliminate caffeine; do a slow-paced activity before bed that won’t overstimulate, such as reading|
|Cough||Drink plenty of liquids; use cough drops; chew gum|
|Dizziness||Stop and sit down for a minute|
3) Get a little help from your friends
Research shows that people are more successful in changing their behaviour when they have a support system. Ask a friend or family member to be your support buddy. You can sign up for The Driven to Quit Challenge with your buddy and can also call Smokers’ Helpline to speak to a Quit Coach at 1-877-513-5333.
4) Don’t give up!
If you have a slip, don’t beat yourself up about it and most importantly, don’t give up! Quitting smoking is hard work and often takes many attempts.
5) Reward yourself
Plan special celebrations on the anniversary of your quit date, but you don’t have to wait a year to treat yourself. Smaller, more frequent rewards prove to be just as beneficial. Made it to one week smoke-free? Treat yourself to a massage. One month? Go out with your support buddy for a nice meal.
While winning a car or cash are huge rewards for your efforts, the biggest reward of all is the health and quality of life you will gain—your body will thank you!
For your chance to win a grand prize of a new car, register for The Driven to Quit Challenge and stay smoke-free for the month of March 2014. Visit www.DriventoQuit.ca for more information.