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Time to Quit? This is it!

Don't give up on giving up…Bow Valley PCN's QuitCore program gives you the tools, skills, knowledge and the support to curb your tobacco addiction. This course of six free ninety-minute weekly sessions demystifies tobacco addiction and promotes behaviour modification strategies. It also helps build a mentally and physically healthier lifestyle that will support your efforts in giving up or reducing tobacco use.

The QuitCore program was created by Alberta Health Services (AHS) in response to statistics indicating that over 23,000 people in Alberta die from tobacco-related disease each year, while tobacco use related healthcare costs are estimated at around $470,000 each year.

Individual, workable plans

The course starts by building awareness of the part smoking plays in each participant's daily life. They learn how to track times and situations that prompt smoking and ways to avoid, redirect or delay the response to the desire. Bow Valley PCN's lead QuitCore facilitator, Registered Nurse, Joan Kuziak says, "We then work with them to develop individual, workable plans to quit, starting with small steps, such as giving up just one cigarette a day.  We also provide strategies to deal with recovery symptoms, manage stress and prevent relapse."

Other members of the PCN's Inter Professional Team lead sessions that add to the success of the program. For example, the Pharmacist explains the chemical processes involved in tobacco addiction and advises on the use of Nicotine Replacement Therapy and prescription medicine. The PCN's Behavioural Change Specialist provides guidance on managing the emotions of addiction and cessation. The Active Living Consultant can demonstrate how even moderate, regular physical activity helps limit weight gain, re-direct tobacco cravings, manage stress, improve sleep quality, and boost energy and mood. The PCN's Registered Dietitian gives information on avoiding weight gain due to improved perception of flavour and potential slight slowing of metabolism.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Joan Kuziak explains a recently-added benefit to the QuitCore program, "As tobacco addiction has been recognized as a chronic disease by AHS, when participants commit to attending the full program, they can access financial support for nicotine replacement therapy, or prescription cessation medication." This takes the form of a pre-paid Blue Cross QuitCore card, covering up to $500 of medication, which they receive in week four or five of the program.

Encouragement and empathy

Along with professional leadership, a highly effective component of the QuitCore program is the encouragement and empathy provided by fellow QuitCore participants and through friends and family members. The group shares concerns and roadblocks, as well as ways of dealing with temptation and possible relapses. "Participants regularly tell us it's the rapport with others on the course that gives them that extra boost to successfully giving up," says Joan Kuziak. "But support from the PCN doesn't end when the course does.  We can offer one-on-one assistance from our team, as well as ongoing free workshops on topics that promote an overall healthier lifestyle."

The next QuitCore program starts April 2, 6:30 – 8:00pm, and runs for six weeks, at Bow Valley Primary Care Network's Central Office in Canmore


Workshops are FREE, but registration is required. To register visit 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.