'Stop before you suffocate,' says Quebec's new anti-smoking campaign

The province's council on tobacco and health organizes an anti-smoking campaign each year, and this time they are drawing attention to respiratory conditions like chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Annual tobacco-free week kicks off Sunday with push to encourage smokers to drop the habit

Marc Drolet says 470,000 Quebecers live with a serious respiratory illness caused by tobacco use. He is the executive director of the Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health (CQTS). (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

The province's council on tobacco and health organizes an anti-smoking campaign each year, and this time they are drawing attention to respiratory conditions like chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

According to the council, these diseases are the third-leading cause of death in the province and are often caused or exascerbated by smoking cigarettes.

The theme of the campaign is "Stop before you suffocate," which council director Marc Drolet says is aimed at underlining the severity of the issue.

"We always try to have a subject that is powerful enough to want to stop smoking, because it is difficult," said Drolet.

The council, in a news release, indicated that these respiratory conditions are caused by smoking in 85 per cent of cases and usually show up in patients aged 40 or 50.

According to the research cited by the council, there is no treatment to cure chronic bronchitis or emphysema — only smoking cessation can slow the progression.

Never too late

Sunday marks the start of the 2019 Quebec Tobacco-Free Week which aims to encourage smokers to quit once and for all.

"It can take up to seven tries to be able to successfully stop smoking," said Drolet.

He said the numbers show certain demographic groups have had more luck than others.

"We've made tremendous gains, but there seems to be a stagnation right now, especially with the 18 to 35 age range," he said. 

Drolet added that it's never too late to quit, even if a patient is a lifelong smoker.


The province's council on tobacco and health offers online and telephone support to those who wish to quit. For more information, visit iquitnow.qc.ca

With files from CBC's Valeria Cori-Manocchio

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