Quitting in droves

Interior Heath residents snap to smoking cessation program

The Interior Health region is second in line for the number of people who’ve accessed the year-old smoking cessation program in the province.

IH filled 22 per cent of all orders for Nicotine Replacement Therapy from Sept. 30, 2011 to Sept. 30, 2012. The region was topped only by the Fraser Health Authority which filled 33 per cent of all orders across the province.

That means that in the Interior Health region, which stretches from Kelowna to the Alberta border, 32,955 people ordered Nicotine Replacement Therapy. The region covers 742,000 residents altogether.

In the province there were 149,899 requests in a year – which the program is calling a huge success.

“Every year tobacco-related deaths rob us needlessly of friends, family and loved ones. I personally know how difficult it is to quit,” said Premier Christy Clark in a recent release. “Tobacco is the largest single cause of premature death and disease in our province, and although the numbers show that a lot of progress has been made, there is still more we can do. I’m so proud that one year later, our program continues to provide smokers with a new level of direct support to quit, to live smoke-free, and to improve their own health as well as the health of their families.”

The Smoking Cessation Program offers smokers free access to cessation drugs like Zyban and Champix for 12 weeks. Both drugs don’t contain nicotine but reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings in the brain.

The program can be accessed by calling 811 or through a physician. There is also support available for those who are quitting smoking through QuitNow Services. That program is operated by the BC Lung Association and can be accessed online at www.quitnow.ca.