To Make Your Habit Go Up In Smoke
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use and the consequent health effects
are a major issue for Canadians.
This is especially true amongst
post-secondary students as smoking
rates are the highest among this
is the number one preventable public
health problem that Canadians face
today. Tobacco use kills more than
40,000 Canadians a year. In Ontario
alone, 12,000 people die each year
from tobacco-related illnesses.
Worldwide, smoking will cause 450
million premature deaths in the
next 50 years, and at least 170
million of these deaths could be
avoided if current smoking rates
were cut in half.
related illnesses place a substantial
amount of stress on the health care
system as one million hospital days
per year are due to tobacco. Smokers
are twice as likely to die from
cancer than non-smokers, while heavy
smokers are four times more likely
to die from cancer than non-smokers.
However, smoking does not just affect
smokers. Second-hand smoke is a
major cause of lung cancer, heart
disease and respiratory diseases
in adults and children.
students comprise a large percentage
of high-tobacco users. On Canadian
university campuses, approximately
40 per cent of the student populations
smoke regularly or occasionally.
About 70 per cent of these students
say that they would like to quit,
but currently there are few resources
available to aid in this difficult
process. Despite the high rates
of smoking among post-secondary
students, this population has been
largely overlooked by public health
strategies. This omission is startling,
because tobacco use is the highest
among young adults ages 18-34, and
because 10 per cent of smokers say
they started smoking after the age
of 18. Since the post-secondary
school experience is a transitional
stage, some students consider altering
their smoking behaviour, and they
require the necessary external support.
a smoking awareness program, Leave
The Pack Behind (LTPB), was developed
to provide information and resources
to Ontario students to assist them
in reducing or quitting smoking.
are many smoking cessation techniques,
yet many of these are not widely
available to university students.
Additionally, the resources currently
available require research to determine
their effectiveness for students.
There is no evidence that adult-validated
interventions, including self-help
materials, nicotine replacement
therapies, pharmacological aides
and group programs, have comparable
benefits (and risks) for students.
goal of LTPB is to gather information
about the student population and
the most effective smoking cessation
methods. Currently, LTPB is gathering
research on self-help smoking interventions.
Smokers involved in this study are
asked to give feedback on three
different smoking cessation packages.
This study aims to establish which
techniques work best for Ontario
university students. With this knowledge,
the inadequacies in the current
resources for students will be corrected,
and consequently, more students
will be able to quit smoking and
addition to gathering information
for the smoking cessation study,
LTPB offers one-on-one peer support
to students who are trying to quit
or reduce smoking. The peer-support
staff offers non-judgmental and
knowledgeable support. For those
who are interested, LTPB offers
free, confidential support and cessation
assistance at your convenience,
just contact them to schedule an
significant component to LTPB is
providing information on the effects
of tobacco while offering techniques
for smokers, and for their friends
and family to help in the process
of quitting. For example, at their
bi-weekly displays, LTPB provides
self-help booklets for people who
want to quit, people who don’t want
to quit, men and women. LTPB also
tests, which measure the carbon
monoxide levels in smokers’ breath.
Carbon monoxide has been proven
to cut the blood-oxygen levels in
smokers and to cause their hearts
to gradually enlarge. Finally, LTPB
provides information or referrals
to health care professionals if
a smoker is interested in using
pharmaceutical aids. So LTPB offers
an excellent array of support and
information, designed specifically
for Ontario university students,
throughout the reducing or quitting
their current promotion, LTPB is
offering one more reason for smokers
to quit or cutback with the “Let’s
Make a Deal!” contest, which
was open to any McMaster students.
This contest is for regular smokers,
casual smokers and non-smokers who
would like to quit smoking, reduce
smoking, stop social smoking or
not begin smoking at all.
the “Let’s Make a Deal!”
contest there will be winners within
each of the four “deals”
to be made. First, Quit for Good,
the winner has quit smoking completely.
Second, Keep the Count, here the
winner reduces consumption by 50
per cent. Third, Party Without the
Pack, the winner will break the
alcohol-tobacco pairing. Fourth,
Don’t Start and Win: the winner
will continue to be completely smoke-free.
contestants who registered during
the second week of January began
their “deals” on Jan.
20. The benefits to quitting are
numerous but this contest offered
McMaster students and staff even
more incentives, including cash
prizes for first prize winners,
gift certificates to local businesses
for runners up, and bonuses for
the required witnesses and buddies.
After the four weeks of sticking
to their goals, all contestants,
witnesses and buddies will be invited
to an end of contest party on Friday,
Feb. 28, during which they will
be awarded prizes.
addition to “Let’s Make a Deal!”,
Leave the Pack Behind offers a number
of incentives to quit including
the smoking cessation study and
entering their Valentine’s Day draws.
Display dates and locations for
the next two weeks are as follows:
Jan. 30 in Commons Marketplace,
Jan. 31 in HHSC, Feb. 6 CNH, and
Feb. 7 in Commons Marketplace. All
displays are up between the hours
of 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.
more information about LTPB, the
smoking cessation study, further
display dates or to schedule a free
appointment for confidential support,
please e-mail [email protected],
call 905-525-9140, ext. 26051 or
visit our website at www.leavethepackbehind.org.
LTPB is located in the Health and
Wellness Centre, McMaster University
Student Centre MUSC B106.