The Regional Municipality Of York


Quitting Smoking

For most smokers, quitting smoking is the single best thing they can do to improve the length and quality of their lives. Some health benefits happen right away while others occur the longer you stay smoke-free. Begin by creating a personal plan.

Quitting smoking can be a difficult process.

  • On average, it takes five to seven tries before quitting for good
  • Every attempt increases the chances of success

Quitting is very personal. Not all people quit the same way and each attempt is different from the last. Visit Quit Stories to get advice from local people sharing why and how they gave up the habit for good.

What's New

Start your quit with Stop on the Road

York Region Public Health hosts the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s Smoking Treatment for Ontario Patients (STOP) on the Road program, which provides nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) at local community workshops for Ontarians who wish to quit smoking.

Public Health Nurses offer workshop participants five weeks of NRT patches at no cost and helpful information on quitting smoking. Pre-registration is required to make sure you are eligible and space is limited. Those interested in participating may call 1-877-464-9675 ext. 73052.

There are currently no scheduled workshops.

To learn more about STOP on the Road and find workshops throughout Ontario, visit

Please note that individual results may vary.

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For Health and Social Service Providers

Brief interventions from a health care practitioner along with quit smoking medications including nicotine replacement therapy, varenicline or bupropion can increase the chances of quitting success.

While quitting tobacco use provides the greatest health benefits over time, not all patients are ready or have the confidence to quit. Therefore, exploring the feasibility of cutting down tobacco use gradually over time is a recommended strategy as an alternative to abruptly quitting on a set date. This may help to build the patient’s confidence and motivation to eventually quit.

Certain stop smoking medications can be used to support quitting abruptly, smoking reduction or cutting down towards quitting.

For patients who are not yet ready to make any changes, encouraging the use of NRT as required to see whether their tobacco use naturally decreases without the pressure to set a quit date could be a helpful strategy. This might include wearing the patch to see if it leads to smoking less or using short acting NRT occasionally when the urge to smoke arises.

Varenicline can also be used to help the patient gradually cut-down over time.

Source: CMAJ Medical Journal

Use “The Three A’s Brief Intervention”

Two thirds of individuals who smoke want to quit in the next six months. Patients expect their health care providers to ask them about their tobacco use. Without intervention, quit rates range from two to three per cent per year but brief intervention alone can increase quit rates by another one to three per cent every year. It only takes one to three minutes to:

Ask about tobacco use.

  • If your patient uses tobacco, ask about whether they have thought about or are currently thinking about quitting

Advise patients that not using tobacco is the most important thing they can do to improve or maintain their health.

  • Talk to the patient about the health benefits of quitting in the short, medium and long term

Arrange support and offer resources for quitting. NRT or prescription medications can be recommended if appropriate to help the patient quit or cut down. Arrange for follow-up and/or refer to Smokers’ Helpline (1-877-513-5333) for additional counselling and support.

Measuring Success

Quit rates are not the only measure of success in stop-smoking interventions.

The process of quitting is significant.

Slips and relapses are normal.

Success is:

  • Patients reflecting on why they smoke, their health and the health of those around them
  • Making a quit plan
  • Cutting down to quit (gradually reducing smoking or tobacco use before stopping)
  • Readiness to make another quit attempt

Practitioner Resources:

York Region Care Pathway for Cost-free Smoking Cessation options - York Region Public Health has created smoking cessation resources for health and social service providers to connect patients with smoking cessation services locally. All listed services are provided at no-cost, although some have eligibility requirements.

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Photos of the people who shared their quit stories with the text 'Watch their quit smoking stories' and an arrow that indicates the videoes will play

Related Resources

External Links

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