An organization's fitness to compete successfully depends on its social capital-the collective value of people who know each other and what they'll do for each other.

Re-Sources Organizational Support Newsletter

A Perfect Opportunity to Stop Smoking

PDF Version

New Smoking Legislation: At 12:01 a.m. on May 31, 2006, new smoking bans will come into effect in Ontario and Quebec. These bans will prohibit smoking in all enclosed public places and workplaces. The only exception to this rule is a provision that allows for "smoking shelters," which are defined as non-serviced areas consisting of no more than two walls and a roof. Properly constructed indoor smoking areas for employees will be permitted for an additional two years, but will be banned effective May 31, 2008.

Slowly but surely the rules of the smoking game are making it harder and harder to light up. Recent changes about where we can smoke are part of a comprehensive health reform agenda to address the impact of smoking on individual's health and the health of society as a whole by: (1) preventing young people from starting to smoke, (2) protecting people from environmental tobacco smoke, and (3) providing support for smoke cessation.

There is good reason for the rule changes. Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of preventable illness and death in Canada. Each year 45,000 Canadians die prematurely because of smoking. This is bad.

However, the harder it is to light up the more people think about quitting. Today almost 54% of current smokers in Canada say they are thinking about becoming smoke-free within the next six months. 57% of Canadian smokers have already quit. This is a good.

In fact, thinking about making changes is a crucial step on the way to making significant change. And ending an addiction to cigarettes is a bigtime change. For many of us, it is the toughest battle we'll ever fight. The powerfully moodaltering and addictive nature of nicotine hooks us to "the only legally available consumer product that kills through normal use." No other consumer product is as dangerous or kills as many people as tobacco. In addition to increasing risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, respiratory problems and other deadly diseases smokers are:

The good news is that thousands of people are successful at quitting smoking forever. Their changing for good is usually achieved after an up and down struggle that we will look at in a minute. But first, here is some interesting propaganda to encourage butting-out. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada reports that just one smoke-free week can launch you into a lifetime of healthy living. Just try butting out for one week and you'll be amazed at how much better you feel in a short time. Here are some of the immediate benefits you can look forward to:

"It's easy to quit smoking. I've done it hundreds of times."
– Mark Twain

Mark Twain once said "It's easy to quit smoking. I've done it hundreds of times." Well, the truth is that many or most of us who have quit-for-good have our share of stories of failures along the way to success. Contemplating quitting smoking, including identifying the benefits, best strategies, the obstacles and the right time, are all good things to do. Thinking about changing helps raise our awareness of the benefits of changing and can increase our motivation to change. However, try to avoid the following:

""I have every sympathy with people who are so horrified by what they have read about the effects of smoking that they have given up reading."
– Henry G. Strauss, 1892-1974

Smoking is a nasty thing. If you're a smoker with any thoughts of quitting we suggest discussing this with your family doctor who can provide you with information and access to smoke cessation aids that can increase your chances of success. Also, there is a wealth of information on the website of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. The entire site offers a rich source of information and strategies for healthy living, including planning for and quitting smoking.

Good Luck and Don't Give Up Trying