Smoking cessation program hopes to build quitters through region

QuitCore, a program to help people stop smoking, is expanding this month to include Rimbey, Sylvan Lake and Coronation.

QuitCore, a program to help people stop smoking, is expanding this month to include Rimbey, Sylvan Lake and Coronation.

The free 10-to-14-week program, funded by Alberta Health Services started in Red Deer and Stettler in the fall.

Red Deer QuitCore facilitator Darrel Melvin said about 12 people participated in Red Deer, with four successfully quitting. The rest were in the planning stage. Stettler had five participants

“There were young parents to seniors citizens,” Melvin said.

QuitCore will now be available in 23 Alberta communities. QuitCore sessions in Red Deer, Sylvan Lake and Rimbey will begin on Feb. 2, in Stettler on Jan. 26, and in Coronation on Jan. 27.

QuitCore teaches tobacco users how to develop a plan to quit that will work for them, while providing strategies to deal with recovery symptoms, manage stress and prevent relapse.

Melvin said QuitCore is “very non-threatening.”

“It’s not a program with someone on a pedestal saying: ‘You made a bad choice. You have to quit.’ This is for people who decided they want support in making a change.”

Statistics show the use of tobacco products is the single leading preventable cause of death in Alberta, killing over 3,000 Albertans every year.

Albertans, age 20 to 24, have the highest rate of smokers across Canada at 26 per cent. In 2001, 34 per cent of Albertans that age smoked.

Overall, Alberta’s provincial smoking rate is equal to the national average of 18 per cent.

To register for QuitCore or to learn more, call toll-free 1-866-710-QUIT (7848).

Another tool to help people quit is a free, confidential telephone counselling service Smokers’ Helpline, at 1-866-332-2322, to help them develop an plan to quit, receive information or be referred to services available in their community.

The website — www.albertaquits.ca — provides professional and peer support, medication information and cessation resources online.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com