This week (January 15-19) marked the 47th annual celebration of National Non-Smoking Week (NNSW), which provides an opportunity to encourage people who smoke to consider joining thousands of others as they take their first steps to becoming smoke-free. Counselling and medication, such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) like the patch, is the best support we can recommend to anyone trying to quit. Here are a few services and supports that Ottawa Public Health recommends:
- Telehealth Ontario provides no cost and confidential smoking cessation service 24 hours, seven days a week. Registered nurses at Telehealth can help develop a quit-smoking plan, answer questions and provide referrals to programs and services in the community, including information on how to access quit-smoking products. For help to quit smoking, residents can call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. For information and /or referral to support services and resources in Ottawa and across the province, residents can connect with Connex Ontario 1-866-531-2600 or visit their website Mental Health & Addiction Treatment Services | Connex Ontario
- Residents can also sign-up online and get free NRT patches and gum mailed to them by joining STOP on the Net | Nicotine Dependence Services (nicotinedependenceclinic.com) or the Community Program | Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation (ottawaheart.ca) by calling 1-888-645-5405 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For OHIP covered tailored quit plans and one-on-one support in a nurse led clinic, residents can register with the Quit Smoking Program by calling 613-696-7069 or emailing email@example.com
- Your neighbourhood Community Health Centre (CHC) and many Family Health Teams (FHT) in the community also offer quit smoking counselling and/or no cost nicotine replacement therapy; while doctors, nurse practitioners and pharmacists can prescribe quit smoking medications.
- For more information about other resources to help Ottawa residents reduce or quit smoking, please visit Ottawa Public Health’s website at www.ottawapublichealth.ca/quitsmoking.
What about vaping?
Completely substituting cigarettes for vapour products reduces exposure to numerous toxicants and carcinogens. However, vapour products are not harmless and the long-term health effects are unknown. In addition, there is a lack of evidence that using vapour products as a smoking cessation aid is effective. If a person does decide to use vaping products to reduce or to quit smoking, counselling can help. They can reach out to one of the services listed above. Please visit Ottawa Public Health’s website at www.ottawapublichealth.ca/quitsmoking.