‘Stop smoking’ web site launched by province

Albertans looking to stamp out smoking can tap into a new provincial resource aiming to help them achieve their goals.

The Alberta Health Services site, www.albertaquits.ca, offers a live Ask an Expert forum, electronic newsletters, a resource library and secure forums to share stories, experiences and successes related to tobacco reduction and quitting.

Dave Rodney, associate minister of health, said the web site supports the goals of the province’s new tobacco reduction strategy, Creating Tobacco-Free Futures: Alberta’s Strategy to Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use, 2012-2022.

“Tobacco use in Alberta has declined over the past decade yet nearly one in five Albertans continue to use tobacco, and about 3,000 Albertans die from tobacco use every year,” said Rodney. “We’ve made progress but we still have work to do. Our strategy and this website are designed to reach out to Albertans who still use tobacco and give them the knowledge, incentives and tools to live healthier lives.”

Research shows that people who get help are twice as successful at quitting as those who try to quit on their own, said Susan Canning, manager, AHS Tobacco Reduction Program. “By moving to offer more interactive features in the online environment, we are making that help all the more accessible to Albertans.”

The web site includes a section on helping friends and family members to quit as well.

These include asking your friend or loved one what they would like you to do to help, letting them know you are available and maintaining an understanding and encouraging manner. It’s also important to be ‘distracting’ by suggesting everything from a movie to running errands. “The key is to help them stay busy.”

The site also shows via a chart how much folks will save by quitting smoking. For example, a person who smokes 25 cigarettes a day will save about $100 a week by quitting. In a decade, that dollar amount soars to about $51,000.

AHS also offers various in-person group support programs and other services, including a 24-hour telephone support line, one-on-one counselling and free nicotine replacement therapy for inpatients in all AHS facilities.

“Tobacco use is the leading cause of disease, disability and premature death in Alberta,” says Dr. Gerry Predy, AHS senior medical officer of health. “In any form, tobacco use can have a serious impact on an individual’s health. Albertaquits.ca is just one of the ways we are supporting Albertans seeking to improve their own health, or the health of their loved ones.”

Check out www.albertaquits.ca.

editor@reddeerexpress.com

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