Smoking cessation program helps Islanders quit

The province’s smoking cessation program has assisted over 1,700 Islanders in quitting smoking or using tobacco products over the last year. 

The PEI Smoking Cessation Program offers Islanders who are ready to quit using tobacco with a minimum of 12 weeks of nicotine replacement therapy such as nicotine gum, lozenges, patches, and inhaler, or specific cessation medications.

“Quitting smoking can be extremely difficult, but with the assistance of our smoking cessation program we are offering additional support to Islanders who are ready to quit and improve their health and wellness. By offering the program through primary care networks across the province, we are ensuring it is accessible for Islanders no matter where they live. I am very pleased to see the uptake this year and throughout the pandemic. As we recognize National Non-Smoking Week from January 17 to 21, I encourage more Islanders to reach out for assistance.”

-  Health and Wellness Minister James Aylward

One of the Islanders who has quit successfully with the assistance of the program is Diane Clark of Augustine Cove. She was just 15 years old when she started smoking cigarettes to fit in with her friends. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but 47 years later, she couldn’t quit the habit and by last winter, Diane and her husband were each smoking a full pack a day.

Early in 2020, Diane and her husband met with a nurse to begin the Smoking Cessation Program and they will soon celebrate a full year of being tobacco-free.

“If you’re trying to quit, take advantage of the smoking cessation program that is here to help,” says Diane. “Don’t give up, because quitting is worth it.”

“It is encouraging to see so many Islanders participate in the program within its first year,” said provincial tobacco control coordinator, Laura MacDonald. “Tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of illness and death in Prince Edward Island and we are able to assist Islanders in taking the first step towards quitting and becoming their healthiest self.” 

The Smoking Cessation Program was introduced by the Chief Public Health Office in December 2019. A comprehensive evaluation was done on the program in October 2020 to find out if there are ways to make it even more effective in helping people quit using tobacco. Results are expected in May 2021. 

For more information, including a list of locations to access the program, visit: Quit Smoking

Media contact:
Samantha Hughes
Senior Communications Officer
Health and Wellness
(902) 368-5610

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