The Regional Municipality Of York


Quit Stories

Your Quit Story

Are you thinking about quitting smoking? Quitting smoking is a journey and there are many options available in York Region to help you along the way. Getting support, using medication and making a quit plan can increase your chances for success. There are a number of low or cost-free services and support to help you quit. Get started today by completing your own online Quit Plan. This can be printed or saved on your device to keep you on track.

Your Guide to a Tobacco-free Life

Local cost-free NRT and support Other low or cost-free options Campaigns and contests

STOP on the Road
One time group session + five weeks of nicotine replacement patches (NRT)

  • 18 years or older
  • Call York Region Public Health to see if you are eligible 1-877-464-9675 ext. 73052 or visit

Tobacco Addiction Recovery Program
10 to 12 weeks of group counselling + NRT

  • 18 years or older and diagnosed with a mental health condition
  • Call 905-967-0357 ext. 245

Vaughan Community Health Centre
Up to 26 weeks of counselling + NRT

  • Call 905-303-8490 ext. 2

Addiction Services for York Region
For supports and up to 26 weeks of NRT

  • For existing clients only

Leave the Pack Behind

  • 18 to 29 years of age
  • Eight weeks of NRT, quit resources and contests

Family Health Team (FHT), Community Health Centre (CHS) or Nurse Practitioner Led Clinic (NPLC)

  • If you belong to a FHT, CHS or NPLC you may be eligible for up to 26 weeks of cost-free NRT and counselling

Ontario Drug Benefit Recipients
12 week course of prescription Champix or Zyban once every 12 months

Private Health Insurance
Call your insurance provider about coverage

Smokers’ Helpline
Smokers’ Helpline provides support and information:
Call: 1-877-513-5333
Text: iQUIT to 123456

York Region Public Health
Contact to learn about new and upcoming services and receive NRT coupons. Call 1-877-464-9675 ext. 73052 or visit

Health care provider
For more information and support, talk to a health care provider such as your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or dentist

York Region Public Health Quit Stories Campaign
Read about our Quit Stories campaign below to get motivated by local people who share how they quit smoking.

Leave The Pack Behind
For young adults

Don’t Quit Quitting

Canadian Cancer Society

Read about the local quit stories

Quitting smoking is a very personal experience. Not everyone quits the same way and each attempt is different from the last. Read the Quit Stories below to get advice from local people sharing why and how they quit smoking for good.

Ash started smoking when he was 14. Dave smoked at least three packs a day. Corrine smoked for over 25 years. Eventually something led them all to quit. Whether it’s quitting for yourself, for your health or for your family, everyone’s quit story is different.

In York Region Public Health’s Quit Stories series, eight individuals living or working in York Region come together to highlight the many negative ways smoking has impacted their lives, why and how they quit and the positive changes they continue to experience. Get inspired to quit smoking and help those around you quit smoking too.

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

Diane, resident of York Region: Quit now to buy an extra twenty years

Diane’s story:

Diane always thought that she was invincible, until she got sick. Smoking was part of her life for many years. After losing her father who smoked and had Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and spending too many of her own days sick, she knew it was time to take control. With the inspiration of a caring young student and wanting to stop spending her Christmas holidays sick, she quit smoking after 40 years. She shares her frustrations about what it’s like living with COPD and her day to day life. “COPD for the first little while…you cough. Then you notice that you get breathless. Then you notice that the things you used to be able to do you can’t quite get there - you can’t run up the stairs without stopping.” She’s fighting hard to get her health back, but feels this never needed to happen.

Her advice:

Diane admits it took several tries before she successfully quit. She discovered that triggers are personal and it’s really important to find out which triggers are most relevant to an individual. Of the various things she would do to keep busy instead of having a cigarette, she made an art book to help her work through the process and dedicated this book to her parents. After trying many times to quit, she focused on beating the longest timeframe that she had quit before. She's proud of herself because she never thought she could do it. She reminds those who are smoking that at some point you really are going to have to quit, so keep trying because every try might be the one that works.

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Peggy, worker in York Region: You have a lot of reasons to live

Peggy’s story:

Peggy smoked for 38 years. Smoking affected both Peggy and her family. Both her parents smoked and Peggy lost her father to lung cancer. She developed asthma and had to go for frequent treatments in the hospital. Six years ago, on New Year’s eve, Peggy decided to quit. She threw out everything that reminded her of smoking. Quitting was tough but she knew she had to, she has many reasons to live. Peggy feels such a sense of freedom knowing she won’t be picking up another cigarette for the rest of her life. Quitting smoking is one of the biggest accomplishments of her life.

Her advice:

Peggy tried quitting many times. It was a challenge to find the best technique to quit smoking and she admits it can be frustrating. She found a few things that worked including relying on support from family and friends, especially those that she could call anytime day or night.

Peggy’s advice is don’t stop trying to quit until you’re successful. Each attempt is a success at trying to stop smoking. She’s happy that she can be there for her family, and her family is happy because she’ll be around a lot longer

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Ash, resident of the City of Markham: Quit for yourself and your family

Ash’s story

Ash smoked for 35 years and felt it was taking a toll on him. He thought it was time to quit for himself, his family and his future.

His advice:

“My advice to someone who wants to quit would be that first you have to make up your mind to do it. It’s not an easy thing to do, but if you have the support system and you have the motivation and willpower you can do it. The benefits outweigh everything.”

Why he quit:
How he quit:
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Tiffany, resident of York Region: Have the power to quit

Tiffany’s story

Tiffany tried to quit smoking many times. She quit for good because she was afraid she might be told she had lung cancer. She was sick, coughing and tasted blood. Tiffany wasn’t going to let smoking take time and health away from her.

Her advice:

“My advice to someone trying to quit would be don’t give up. Every minute you go without a cigarette is another minute that you haven’t had one. Give yourself the credit for going that little bit without a cigarette, and then the next goal is to go twice as long without one. Keep doing that until you finally get to the point where you say I’m done and I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Why she quit:
How she quit:
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Dave, worker in the Town of Newmarket: Quit to save your lungs

Dave’s story

After smoking for around 25 years, Dave’s final decision to quit came unexpectedly when he had to go to the Emergency Room. He was having trouble breathing and was told he was on his way to a chronic breathing condition. Dave didn’t want to live like that, so he quit for good.

His advice:

“My advice to someone trying to quit smoking would be to never give up. Don’t put yourself down if you do relapse. Just keep trying because eventually it will pay off.”

Why he quit:
How he quit:
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Corrine, worker in the Town of Georgina: Quit to see your kids grow up

Corrine’s story

Corrine felt smoking took away all of her energy. It interfered with her life in many ways, with everything revolving around having a cigarette. She quit smoking after 27 years to be there for her family and watch her kids grow up.

Her advice:

“Take it one day at a time and don’t overwhelm yourself with tomorrow. Find the right plan for you. One good choice leads to making a lot of other good choices. Ten years of quitting smoking has enhanced my life completely. I wish I’d have done it sooner.”

Why she quit:
How she quit:
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Dave, resident of the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville: Quit to get your energy back

Dave’s story

Dave never had any energy as he was smoking three or more packs a day. The longer he smoked, the worse he felt, and he just couldn’t stand that anymore.

His advice:

“If you have any doubt at all about whether you should quit or not, do it because it’s worth it. There’s such a benefit from it, health-wise. It’s such a great feeling just knowing that you don’t smoke anymore and you don’t have to go out and buy cigarettes anymore.”

Why he quit:
How he quit:
The Regional Municipality of York en-US

Richard, resident of the Town of Newmarket: Learn to manage your triggers

Richard’s story

It took Richard many tries to successfully quit. He felt smoking became a crutch when he was insecure. During major changes in his life, he found the perfect opportunity to quit smoking.

Richard’s advice:

“If I was talking to someone who was trying to quit I would focus in on the triggers. I would ask them if there is a way they can change those triggers or change what they’re doing during the day so that the triggers aren’t there. It’s also really important when you are struggling to have someone there as a support that you can talk to.”

Why he quit:
How he quit:
The Regional Municipality of York en-US

Quit Plan

Create and save your own Quit Plan to stay motivated throughout your journey

List the reasons why you want to quit:

Understand why you smoke:

Become aware of your triggers:

Deal with triggers. Start with small steps:

Set a quit date:

My quit date is:

Consider quit smoking medications to manage withdrawal:

  • Talk to your health care provider about quit smoking medications
  • Consider tools and support to help you quit

Once you've completed your Quit Plan, select the Print Friendly link (located at the top of the page above the title)  then print your plan or save it on your device. Refer to it to keep you on track.

quit,smoking,personal plan The Regional Municipality of York en-US

For more information:

Smoking kills half of all long-term users of tobacco and remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Ontario, killing more than 13,000 Ontarians every year. For more information on how to quit smoking contact York Region Public Health at or call Access York at 1-877-464-9675, TTY 1-866-512-6228. You may also call Smokers’ Helpline at 1-877-513-5333 or visit


tobacco,smoking,quitting The Regional Municipality of York en-US Everyone's story is different, watch their quit smoking stories. Quit Stories Former smokers highlight the negative ways smoking impacted their lives and the positive changes they have experienced since they quit.

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