Helping smokers break up with cigarettes

Young adult smokers are being encouraged to break off their bad relationship with smoking and stay smoke-free. Break It Off, a national awareness campaign, hit York University during Non-Smoking Week (Jan. 20 – 26) and will continue to visit college and university campuses and trade schools through March.

Tobacco use and smoking rates in Canada are some of the lowest they have ever been but youth and young adults continue to smoke. To help more Canadians – especially young adults – give up smoking, Health Canada and the Canadian Cancer Society are offering the fifth tour of the Break It Off tobacco cessation campaign.

“With the remarkable progress we’ve made in recent years, we now know that about half of all cancers can be prevented,” says Lynne Hudson, Canadian Cancer Society president and CEO. “To make further impact, we need to take action and encourage healthy living when people are young, with the right information, at the right time, in the right way.”

In Canada, 86 per cent of current adult daily smokers had smoked their first cigarette by the age of 18. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease and premature death in Canada and quitting smoking cigarettes before the age of 40 reduces the risk of a tobacco-related death by as much as 90 per cent.

“The evidence is clear,” says Hudson. “Reducing the number of people who smoke in our country is a tangible way to save lives. This is why the Canadian Cancer Society is pleased to partner with Health Canada to provide young adults with new digital resources that can support them to quit smoking and stay smoke-free.”

The Break It Off website ( offers resources to help young people quit smoking cigarettes, connect with peers and find an event in their community. Additionally, trained specialists available through a quit line can help people develop a plan to quit smoking, answer questions and provide referrals to programs and services in their community. They can be reached online at or toll-free at 1-866-366-3667.

Photo: Through the Break It Off campaign, Health Canada and the Canadian Cancer Society are working to help Canadians quit smoking. CNW Group/Health Canada photo

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