Butting out takes time

By Jenn Watt

Published Oct. 11 2016

If at first you don’t succeed try try again. Or in the case of quitting smoking try try try try try … you get the picture.

According to the local health unit thinking has changed on how often someone has to attempt to quit smoking before they’re successful. While experts used to say success is achieved after about seven to 15 tries it’s actually something closer to 30.

This is an important change and one that health promoters are using as a motivator.
Rather than be discouraged by “failed” attempts smokers are encouraged to embrace the pattern learn from past experiences and keep at it.

Health promoter Dearbhla Lynch says the health unit is using information from Google Analytics to gain insights into smokers’ quit attempts. What they’ve found is most searches on smoking cessation are done on Sunday afternoon through to Tuesday morning which they take to mean that’s when smokers are gearing up to quit.

Knowing that most smokers will need to quit many times before it sticks the health unit is building that information into their strategy.

“Since we’re trying to normalize the idea of relapse we’re trying to encourage people to give it a try on Monday and see how far [they] get and try it again next Monday” she says.

This change in strategy is a great way to tackle the smoking problem.

No one likes to admit defeat. When you’ve told the world that you’re going smoke-free and then the next day you’re puffing on a cigarette behind the dumpster at work it can be embarrassing.
To frame the setbacks as part of the process is hugely helpful in understanding how addiction can be conquered.

For smokers able to attend the health unit is running its STOP program on Wednesday Oct. 26 at 1 p.m. The session involves a presentation questionnaire and a one-on-one interview with health unit staff. Those participating receive five weeks’ worth of free nicotine patches. Call 705-457-1391 to sign up. For those who cannot attend your doctor pharmacist nurse and dentist all have the ability to prescribe smoking cessation medication and can talk to you about options to kick the habit.

Butting out for good is something that people do successfully every day. It’s a process.

And as former smoker Jack Bush told the paper: “The key to giving up is you really have to want to. … You absolutely have to commit to giving up.”