IN2002, Alberta introduced its first Tobacco Reduction Strategy. Since then, the rate for Albertans age 15and over who smoke has droppedfrom 25 to 18 per cent.
While tobacco use remains a concern
in certain groups of people in Alberta
and across Canada, a 2012 report
declared the decrease of smoking
among Canadians over the past 45 years
as “one of the most important public
health achievements of our time.”
Alberta’s Tobacco Reduction Strategy
will continue in the years ahead, with
the goal of reducing tobacco use to
12 per cent by 2022.
As the rate of tobacco use declines,more and more Albertans will experiencethe benefits of being tobacco free. Hereare some of them.
For every day you don’t smoke, you addabout five hours to your life expectancy,which could be the difference in seeingyour kids graduate or get married andyour grandchildren take their first steps.
Smoking is a major cause of prematuredeath worldwide. Quitting smokingis the single best thing you can do toimprove your health and quality of life,the Canadian Lung Association says.
“There are huge benefits to being anon-smoker,” says Dr. Paul MacEachern,a respirologist at the Foothills MedicalCentre in Calgary. “The biggest benefit ofquitting cigarettes is that lung functionimproves quickly.” (See sidebar “Everyminute, hour, month, year counts.”)
By not smoking—or never smoking—you have a much lower risk of gettingdozens of smoking-related diseasessuch as lung cancer, heart disease andchronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD), including emphysema andchronic bronchitis.
“If people use the product the waythat’s suggested on the package, halfof all smokers would die far sooner,”says Dr. James Talbot, the chief medicalofficer of health for Alberta.
Tobacco smoke has more than7,000 chemicals in it, including 69 knowncarcinogens such as carbon monoxide,formaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide.And that chemical brew can harmalmost every organ in the body.
For example, tobacco use can leadto blocked arteries, stroke and highblood pressure, diabetes and poorbone density, as well as infertility andunhealthy infant birthweight. Severaltypes of cancer such as stomach, cervix,throat, mouth and esophagus—to namea few—are also linked to smoking.
“In some cases those tobacco chemicalscan damage DNA,” says Dr. Brent Friesen,the medical officer of health for Safe &Healthy Environments, Population &Public Health, Alberta Health Services.“In other cases they compromise the
Healthier babies & children