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12 Jan 2018

National Non-Smoking Week: Understanding the Risks


Topics: Senior Health

Are you or someone in your family a smoker? Whether a regular or casual smoker, any type of tobacco use can be detrimental to your health. It’s due to this that we take a week in January to shed light on the risks of smoking in Canada. From January 15th to 21st, National Non-Smoking Week aims to end tobacco usage in Canada.

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It Starts Young

It’s estimated that nine out of every ten Canadians who smoke began their addiction in their teenage years. As a parent or grandparent, it’s critical to speak with your young family members to educate them on the harmful effects of smoking. While only six percent of students in 2015 said they smoked cigarettes in the past year, usage increases throughout the duration of high school.

Of the children who do smoke, 62 percent said their cigarettes were obtained from family or friends. It is never socially acceptable, not to mention that it’s illegal, to give underaged minors cigarettes. Not only are you putting yourself at risk, you’re putting their health at risk for the rest of their lives.

The Personal Risks

Smoking kills over 37,000 Canadians every single year and 30 percent of cancer diagnoses can be traced back to smoking cigarettes. In addition, over 85 percent of lung cancer cases are a direct result of smoking. Smoking takes the lives of thousands of Canadians, but the worst part is that it’s preventable. Many Canadian lives are lost unnecessarily.

Other forms of tobacco ingestion, from chewing tobacco to hookahs, can also increase your risk of developing cancer.

When you take the risk to smoke, do you really know what you’re putting into your body? There are many poisons found in cigarettes, including hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, acetone, DDT, and carbon monoxide, along with other harmful chemicals like tar, mercury, and lead.

Putting Others in Jeopardy

Let’s not forget that it’s not just your life you’re putting at risk when you decide to smoke. Second-hand smoke is a real issue that can hurt the people around you. The average smoker only inhales for about thirty seconds, leaving the other eleven and a half minutes it takes to burn the average cigarette out in the open. If you live with your elderly parents, a spouse, or your children, this means they’re being negatively impacted by your decision to smoke.

What’s the best way to keep you and your family safe? Quit smoking.

Strategies to Quit

Anyone who’s experienced a nicotine addiction knows it’s not easy to quit. The constant headaches and agitation make the thought of never picking up another cigarette almost unbearable. But with all the health risks associated with smoking, you can’t afford to keep putting toxic chemicals in your body. If not for yourself, think about your loved ones. Will you do it for them?

Before you quit, you’ll need to make sure you have a strong support group on your side. Quitting smoking is hard and you’re going to need all the extra sympathy and understanding you can get.

There are options to simply replace your nicotine addiction instead of going cold-turkey and cutting in out completely. The patch and nicotine gum are both options that can help quench your craving without picking up a cigarette.

Staying out of the way of other triggers, like alcohol, can also help you stay on the right track to success. Self-care is essential at this stage. If you combine all of these strategies, you can do anything you set your mind to—even quit smoking.


Tennille Kerrigan

Tenille is the president of Senior Helpers Canada, the premier franchise that delivers on what families and their loved ones need most. She has bachelor’s degree in business administration from York University, and has over 10 years of experience as a business owner and director. With Senior Helpers, our franchisees provide the professionalism and expert care that families and their aging loved ones require.

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