As well as putting an end to or reducing participants’ tobacco use, it helps them build a mentally and physically healthier, more active lifestyle that will help prevent relapse and lead to better overall wellbeing.
Run as a course of six free one-and-a-half-hour weekly sessions, QuitCore has previously been delivered through the PCN's central office in Canmore. The PCN is excited to be bringing this course to Banff this fall.
According to Alberta Quits, in Alberta, over 3,000 people die every year from tobacco-related illnesses and the healthcare costs related to tobacco use have been estimated at around $470,000,000 per year. The QuitCore program – created by Alberta Health Services - is designed to assist Albertans in making positive changes in their tobacco use.
"The course teaches strategies for understanding tobacco addiction, behaviour modification, dealing with physical and mental recovery symptoms, and preventing relapse," says Kiley Torti, the PCN's Active Living and Health Promotion Consultant, the program's lead facilitator.
Goal setting – redirecting urges
The course starts with sessions that build awareness of how much a part of each person's daily life smoking plays, and teaches techniques for starting to make changes that will reduce or eliminate tobacco use. Participants then set individual goals, perhaps beginning by giving up just one cigarette a day. They learn how to track times and situations that prompt smoking and how to avoid, redirect or delay the response to the desire. The program also offers help with stress management, nicotine replacement and withdrawal symptoms.
Eliciting support from friends and family members is important to personal success, while encouragement from other QuitCore participants is a significant benefit of the program. They share concerns, roadblocks, ways of dealing with temptation and possible relapses. As well, advice on the role of diet and nutrition, including how to avoid possible weight gain due to improved perception of flavour and a potential slight slowing of metabolism, is provided by the PCN's Registered Dietitians.
Exercise – a secret weapon
Regular physical exercise can be a secret weapon to help people stop smoking as it helps deal with both the physical and psychological aspects of nicotine addiction. It can help limit weight gain as well as re-direct the cravings for a cigarette. Moderate physical activity, especially aerobic exercise, reduces the urge to smoke. Kiley Torti explains, "Withdrawal symptoms and cravings for cigarettes also decrease during exercise and for up to an hour post-exercise. In addition physical activity helps with stress management, improves quality of sleep and boosts energy and mood."
The Banff QuitCore course runs on Tuesdays from October 17th until November 28th from 6:00 to 7:30pm at the Banff Canmore Community Foundation at 214 Banff Avenue.
There is no session on October 31st
The course is for individuals 18 years or older who wish to stop using tobacco, reduce their tobacco use or have recently stopped using tobacco and want to maintain the change.
The course is FREE, but registration is required. To register sign up online at www.bowvalleypcn.ca (click on Sign up for a Workshop for listings) or call 403 675 3000.
Alberta Quits Helpline - 1-866-710-7848 The AlbertaQuits helpline is a free smoking cessation service for all residents of Alberta, open 8AM to 8PM seven days a week. Call 1-866-710-QUIT (7848) toll-free to receive confidential, non-judgmental support.