The situation of tobacco smoking in Nunavik is alarming. In effect, a large proportion of Nunavimmiut are regular cigarette smokers. According to the Qanuippitaa health survey of 2004, close to 90% of those aged 18 to 29 years regularly or occasionally smokes.
For further details on the situation of smoking in the region, consult the full results of the 2014 Qanuippitaa health survey.
In all regions of the province, the Quit to Win challenge is held every year in March. The same challenge was adopted in the region with adaptations of the logo and its inclusive approach: Stay Quit to Win. Given the large number of smokers and the high average number of occupants of homes, quitting is a major benefit, but persevering and remaining an ex-smoker can become a daily struggle.
Like the challenge held elsewhere, Stay Quit to Win lasts over a period of six weeks, during which Nunavimmiut who smoke are invited to sign up. The activity is open to those aged at least eight years (with parental consent). Those interested can obtain a registration form at the CLSC, schools or municipal offices or directly from the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS).
Many tantalizing prizes have been offered over the years, for example:
- Pair of return airline tickets from Nunavik to Montréal;
- Pair of return airline tickets within Nunavik;
- Gift certificates of a value ranging from $25 to $1 000.
The communities are encouraged to organize activities promoting smoking cessation, such as projects focused on prevention or encouraging reduced smoking or reduced exposure, projects promoting smoke-free lifestyles or projects providing information on the dangers of smoking. All initiatives are welcome, and the support of our team for prevention and health promotion is available at all times, whether for materials, information or access to funding.
Second-hand smoke is the smoke that escapes from the cigarette as it burns and the smoke exhaled by the smoker. That smoke contaminates the surroundings and can produce effects in all the persons present. Children are more sensitive to exposure to second-hand smoke. That is why it is recommended that smoking be restricted to the outdoors.
The most common diseases linked to second-hand smoke and smoking in adults are:
- Lung cancer;
- Cardiovascular diseases including heart attacks and strokes.
Second-hand smoke is also linked to chronic respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis.
Those commonly occurring among children are:
- Risk of low birth weight if the mother was exposed to second-hand smoke;
- Risk of sudden infant-death syndrome;
- Risk of severe infections of the lower respiratory tract, such as bronchitis and pneumonia;
- Risk of asthma or severe asthmatic symptoms;
- Risk of ear infections leading to hearing loss.
Did you know?
A child present in a room with second-hand smoke is in contact with levels of toxic substances equivalent to 10 or more cigarettes smoked by an adult.
Smoking during pregnancy
Quitting smoking can be difficult, but there are enormous advantages to doing so during pregnancy. Breathing is easier, energy levels are higher, the money saved can be considerable and food tastes better.
How to reduce the effects of second-hand smoke
- Quit smoking if possible;
- Avoid smoking indoors;
- Avoid smoking inside vehicles;
- Do not smoke in the presence of children;
- Encourage cessation programs at work;
- Inform people of the dangers of second-hand smoke;
- Promote smoke-free environments.
There are several possibilities to help in smoking cessation. Below are some examples:
An individual can stop smoking with no outside help. This method can be difficult, as nothing replaces the nicotine that no longer enters the system. However, the advantage is that there are no related costs: there is no need to purchase anything.
An individual can consult a physician to obtain medication to help in quitting smoking. The most popular products are Zyban, nicotine gum and nicotine patches. These are designed to reduce the sensations of nicotine withdrawal.
Support from others and support groups
Deciding to quit smoking leads to changes in the individual’s life as well as effects on those around him. Some individuals can experience headaches, depressive moods, hunger pangs, boredom and irritability after quitting smoking. Others may feel lonely or isolated. A first step can be to talk to someone—family members, friends, co-workers—of the intent to quit smoking. Consulting a health professional can also help. It can also be interesting to create a support group in order to share the daily preoccupations and repercussions of the choice to quit.
Alternatives to smoking include regular physical activity, development of ways to manage stress more effectively, finding ways toward better sleep, learning new recipes with new foods and so forth.
Support line for smoking cessation
1 866-527-7383 (Québec)