MONCTON – A smoking cessation nurse with the Viltalite Health Network says National Non-Smoking Week is a good reason to encourage people to stop smoking.
Karelle Guignard’s job is to help people find ways to kick the smoking habit. She believes the community can work together to help people beat their nicotine addiction.
“They are admitted to the hospital and we give them support while they are there,” she said. “But we also need to work a lot with people in the community.”
Story continues below
Youth smoking is a big problem in the province. The province’s youth smoking rate is at seven per cent and one of the highest in the country.
And last year, the New Brunswick Health Network reported that number is on the rise.
Outside Moncton High School, students smoking off school property say they’re not surprised by the numbers.
They say they each had their own reason for lighting up.
“I started smoking to lose weight kind of thing,” said 17-year-old Nadia Williams. “I’d spend my lunch money on cigarettes instead of food.”
Fifteen-year-old Allison Steward said peer pressure drove her to smoke.
“I started picking it up from a lot of my friends,” she said. “Basically it comes with peer pressure.”
Beyond health risks linked to cancer and heart disease, smoking is also hard on tax payers.
In 2003, the Genuine Progress Index for Atlantic Canada reported that smoking cost the province $120 million in medical care costs.
But for young people who picked up the habit at a young age, they say quitting is difficult.
“I’m addicted now,” said Alex Leblanc. “At first I thought it was cool and I was nine years old and everybody else was smoking so why not but now I just need a smoke.”