MUHC experts provide advice, tips and media commentary on quitting tobacco
Smokers have a double incentive to quit puffing this month. From January 21 to 27, the Conseil québécois sur le tabac et la santé observes its world-renowned anti-smoking campaign, anchored by a practical website on how to break free: www.jarrete.qc.ca. During the same period, the Canadian Council for Tobacco Control will hold its National Non-Smoking Week. Launched in 1977, National Non-Smoking Week is Canada's longest educational initiative to curb tobacco use. As this tandem of anti-smoking campaigns encourages more Canadians to butt out, the McGill University Health Centre recommends the following experts for media commentary:
Breaking the habit
John Kayser is a nurse clinician and coordinator of the MUHC Smoking Cessation Program, based at the Montreal Chest Institute site. At the MUHC, Kayser and his team help everyday smokers become tomorrow's non-smokers by offering a medical examination and tobacco dependency evaluation. Treatment is then tailored to the patients' individual needs. Kayser says a vital ingredient in quitting tobacco is persistence. "Every attempt to stop smoking brings you closer towards your goal," he explains. "Most people try five to seven times before they quit smoking permanently. Practice makes permanence."
Smoking and addiction
Dr. Kathryn Gill, Director of Research at the Addictions Unit of the McGill University Health Centre and a McGill psychiatry professor, is an expert in substance abuse and treatment. She says smoking is a powerful addiction partially because it's so readily available. "Cigarettes are relatively cheap, legal, visible and accessible," she says. "It is difficult to quit smoking, in part due to the large number of smoking triggers (e.g., smell of tobacco, etc.) that may provoke cigarette cravings which contribute to a relapse."
Another element that makes smoking a hard habit to break is its delayed negative consequences. "Whereas drinking may cause intoxication, driving impairment and hangover, the long-term negative effects of smoking – wheezing or cancers – often aren't apparent until 10 or 20 years into the addiction," Gill cautions.
About the MUHC
The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is a comprehensive academic health institution with an international reputation for excellence in clinical programs, research and teaching. The MUHC is a merger of five teaching hospitals affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University,the Montreal Children's, Montreal General, Royal Victoria, and Montreal Neurological Hospitals, as well as the Montreal Chest Institute. Building on the tradition of medical leadership of the founding hospitals, the goal of the MUHC is to provide patient care based on the most advanced knowledge in the health care field, and to contribute to the development of new knowledge.
Conseil québécois sur le tabac et la santé on the web: www.cqts.qc.ca/sqast.
National Non-Smoking Week on the web: www.nnsw.ca.