By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman
Southern Alberta Newspapers
The Canadian Cancer Society, in partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Lung Association and the Canadian Public Health Association, have recently relaunched a campaign aimed to help Canadians quit smoking.
Program manager in the cancer prevention department of the Canadian Cancer Society, Karen Kuzmich spoke to Southern Alberta Newspapers recently and said their Smoke Free Curious campaign is a social marketing campaign aimed at helping adult Canadian tobacco users who want to quit nicotine. It is targeted at Canadians between 35 and 64 years of age.
“Because that’s the population group where we’re not seeing as strong a decline in our smoking rates,” said Kuzmich.
She said Canadian tobacco use rates are dropping overall, but that particular age group seems to be holding on and it is an audience they want to make an extra effort in helping them connect with resources, especially in rural communities.
“Stress is a very common reason that people cite for continuing to smoke or starting to smoke, so that age range is one that we think of as being very busy, they’re in that prime working years, also family life and conditions, it may be generational, maybe they didn’t have the same sort of exposure to the harms or the anti-smoking messages some of the younger generations might have been exposed to,” said Kuzmich.
She said the great thing about the campaign is that it is national and bilingual and it can reach people in every province and territory, to give them an opportunity to access a hub of information and resources, as well as incentives to those looking to quit smoking.
“We have an interesting new contest this year called #iamquitting and it’s focused on sharing what your milestone is around quitting commercial tobacco. This is an opportunity for people whether they’re at the beginning stages of their quit journey, they’re thinking about quitting, or they think they’re ready to make another quit attempt,” said Kuzmich.
She said the campaign is also aimed to those that have been smoke-free for a while, as well as for those who are struggling to stay off cigarettes.
Kuzmich said the contest within the campaign is designed to be an incentive to take a step towards a smoke-free journey.
She said there is a cash prize to be won and all people have to do is enter their milestones into their smoke free curious website and at the end of September, a draw will decide who takes the money home, but that is not the only chance they will have.
“We have three contest periods and for this first contest, we have 12 prizes of $250 that will be drawn at the end of this month so there’s still time if people are interested to register for this contest,” said Kuzmich.
She said the next one started at the beginning of October, and they will be running these incentives until the end of February. Those interested can also apply to receive a trial pack of nicotine replacement therapy as an incentive.
“We have a whole page for this contest on our website and that’s where they can go and submit their milestone and declare to themselves, and if they want to others, by saying what it is that they’ve already achieved in their journey towards becoming or staying smoke-free,” said Kuzmich.
She said their website also provides information and tools to learn how to be successful in whatever the goal is for reducing or quitting smoking, as well as online coaches for people to ask real-time questions, or have someone to talk to about their journey, or leave a message in case there are no coaches online at the moment someone connects.
“We also have a community on our (social media) pages, where we can support those that are in the process of quitting,” said Kusmich.