Make Weedless Wednesday Your Day to Become Smoke-Free

Thinking about stopping smoking? Some Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) staff in Cape Breton are using Weedless Wednesday (Jan. 24) as an opportunity to remind people that help is available to stop smoking.

“While stopping smoking can be a struggle and can take many tries, we think of it as gaining not quitting, each and every time we work toward becoming smoke free,” says Lesley Dairou, registered social worker with the Stop Smoking Program offered through mental health and addictions. “We need to remember this is an addiction and needs the same level of understanding and support that addiction treatment provides.”

Support is also available through two hospital based initiatives. A program modeled after the Ottawa Model of Smoking Cessation, was implemented at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital in 2012. As part of the program, patients are asked about tobacco use, offered medication, support and provided with a ‘quit kit’ while in hospital and offered follow-up services.

The second initiative, INSPIRED COPD Outreach Program, is a partnership with the Canadian Foundation for Health Improvement (CFHI) and NSHA. This project uses a team, including a registered respiratory therapist (RRT) and an advanced care planner facilitator (ACPF), to provide client and family-centered care for people suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The goals of the program include: reducing hospital visits and admissions, decreasing the length of stay in hospital and increasing quality of life for those living with COPD. Cigarette smoking is the underlying cause of 80 to 90 per cent of COPD cases.

Jennifer Quinn, registered respiratory therapist, is the tobacco cessation coordinator who works with hospital inpatients to help them quit smoking. She says that offering programs like the Ottawa Model in hospital and having the follow-up option helps meet the needs of patients during the quitting process.

“Being an inpatient provides a unique opportunity for addressing a person’s tobacco use,” she says. “It plants the seed of change, helps the patient to develop strategies for quitting and makes them aware of resources in the community upon discharge.”

In addition to the community and in-hospital supports, exposure to tobacco in the community is also limited under the provincial Smoke Free Places Act and municipal policies and bylaws. Policies are also in place within NSHA that do not allow smoking, vaping or tobacco use on any of its properties, including parking lots and entrances to buildings.

“Tobacco free policies help create environments that promote healthy behavior, support health and create tobacco and smoke-free community expectations,” says Jean MacQueen, health promotion specialist with mental health and addictions. “Staff, patients, and visitors have the right to access health care in a safe, tobacco free, environment. Please remember smoking, vaping and using tobacco are not permitted on NSHA properties, including near buildings or entranceways.”

To learn more about programs available across Cape Breton, phone 902-563-8646. Online and telephone information also available through 811 or by visiting

National Non Smoking Week (NNSW) takes place Jan. 21 to Jan. 27. Staff are marking NNSW on Wednesday, Jan. 24 at 10 a.m. at the front entrance of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.


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