Will share their successes and challenges in quitting smoking
CHARLOTTETOWN – Taking part in a campaign called Dare2Quit, eight Holland College students have vowed to try to quit smoking and to encourage others to do the same.
Holland College students A.J. MacIntyre and Kathleen Lutz are challenging each other to quit smoking during National Non-Smoking Week. The students are part of the Dare2Quit challenge being promoted by the Canadian Cancer Society and Holland College Student Union.
Photo by Pam Bernard Photography
The campaign was launched on Monday, the first day of National Non-Smoking Week.
“I always told myself that I would never be a smoker and I put down others who did smoke,” said the college’s Student Union president, A.J. MacIntyre.
But the 25 year-old picked up the habit while working in Alberta in 2012.
“I said I would give it up when I came home but that never happened,” said the Business Administration Program student. “I was very naïve about the effects that it has. It’s an addiction and it’s hard to quit.”
Like the others in the campaign, over the next six weeks MacIntyre will be sharing his triumphs and challenges in giving up cigarettes through social media. He hopes his actions motivate others to quit.
The public can follow students’ journey to becoming tobacco-free by searching Dare2Quit on Facebook.
Also strongly committed to the campaign is Foundation Program student Kathleen Lutz from Morell. She’s been a smoker since she was 14 but she’s tired of seeing the negative impacts of smoking.
“All four of my grandparents died of smoking-related illnesses. Two years ago in July my father was diagnosed with cancer. It means a lot to him that I quit now. It means a lot to my mother too,” Lutz confided. “I just feel that it’s time. It’s never going to get any easier.”
“Smoking is a powerful addiction and I’d never suggest that quitting is easy, but the fact remains that smoking kills about 37,000 Canadians every year,” noted Canadian Cancer Society P.E.I. Division executive director, Lori Barker. P.E.I. loses more than 100 people a year to lung cancer.
“I just feel that it’s time. It’s never going to get any easier.” Participant, Kathleen Lutz
“We know that smoking causes about 30% of all cancer deaths and approximately 85% of all lung cancer deaths,” Barker stated. “If we are going to prevent cancer, we have to stop smoking and indulging in other risky behaviours. The Society is here to help those who want to make the change, so people don’t have to go it alone.”
She welcomed the effort being made by the Holland College students to kick the habit.
Besides the health risks, the Cancer Society points out there are direct costs associated to smoking. A pack-a-day smoker spend about $4,000 a year on cigarettes.
“I’m sick of wasting so much money,” Lutz admitted.
MacIntyre said he is looking forward to feeling healthy again, to rid himself of the morning cough and to be able to run upstairs without feeling short of breath.
Dare2Quit is sponsored by the Canadian Cancer Society with funding from the P.E.I. Department of Health and Wellness and Health Canada.
More than 20% of young adults on Prince Edward Islander are smokers. Twenty to thirty-year-olds have the highest smoking rate of any age group in the country.