"You can achieve anything when you’re really determined” – A former smoker shares how she quit smoking!

Smoking is an addiction that’s also very harmful to your health. In fact, about 18% of cancer cases are due to smoking tobacco. The good news is that no matter how long you’ve been smoking, you can reduce your risk of cancer by quitting.

Quitting isn’t easy and can take time – Karine knows this all too well. By the time she was 18, she already smoked regularly. Over the years, Karine made many attempts to quit smoking but was never able to beat her addiction – until she joined Walk or Run to Quit, a Canadian Cancer Society and Running Room Canada program funded in part by the Public Health Agenda that helps smokers quit by learning to walk or run 5 km.

The start of a healthier lifestyle

When Karine had her daughter, she wanted to start living a healthier life. In the next few years, she began making positive changes for her well-being – and quitting smoking was one of them.

“The constant need of having to smoke had such control over me and I was fed up with it,” Karine explains. “I was fed up with the smell of cigarettes and being constantly out of breath.”

Most importantly, Karine wanted to be a good role model for her daughter and show that you can achieve anything when you’re really determined.

Karine’s journey to quit smoking

Like many others who’ve decided to quit, Karine was faced with daily challenges like cravings to smoke. Although she made many attempts to stop smoking, she was never able to fully quit. One day, she learned about Walk or Run to Quit. This 10-week training program aims to help people overcome smoking withdrawals and cravings with physical activity – and it was exactly what Karine needed!

Running helped Karine take her mind off smoking, and to motivate herself even further, she registered for a 5 km race with a friend!

“I feel so good after running and I also breathe so much better!” she says.

Reaching a milestone

Since joining Walk or Run to Quit, Karine was able to quit smoking. This year, she will be celebrating three years of being smoke-free!
Karine smiling and holding a medal
Karine smiling and holding a medal
Walk or Run to Quit was able to help Karine quit smoking but it also helped her discover a new passion: running. After finishing the program, she participated in other races. Her goal now is to take part in more races and one day, be able to run 10 km!

Inspired to quit smoking?

Karine’s journey is proof that quitting is possible!

The decision to quit smoking is a personal one and everyone’s journey to quitting is different – while some quit gradually, others stop and start many times. We know that everyone’s journey to quitting is different, so we wanted to provide you with some tips that can help you quit successfully when the time is right for you!

Create a plan
After deciding that you’re ready to quit, it helps to create a plan and set a quit date. A quit plan will help you prepare mentally, stay focused and have a finish line to work towards. Try to set your quit date on a day that isn’t stressful so you can focus on this big milestone!
Understand your triggers
A big part of quitting successfully is understanding your triggers and how to cope with the urges to smoke. A trigger can be a place, person or thing that may make you want to smoke. Triggers are everywhere so it’s important to acknowledge them and find ways to deal with them.
Manage your cravings
Quitting smoking can be a challenge and everyone will be faced with cravings or withdrawal symptoms. Here are four tips to help manage your cravings:
  • Deep breathing
    Breathe in and out slowly – it will help you relax and focus on something else.
  • Drink water
    Stay hydrated! Drinking water will help flush toxins out of your system and keep your hands and mouth busy. It can also help with coughing and phlegm buildup that often comes with quitting smoking.
  • Distraction
    Distract yourself! Try getting up and going somewhere every time you have a craving. It can be something as simple as going for a walk or something fun like calling a friend.
  • Delay
    The good news is that cravings are temporary! Although they might feel like they last forever, they usually only last about 5 to 10 minutes. Try waiting a few minutes at a time and use the other methods above to distract yourself until your cravings disappear.
Build a support system
For some, quitting can be easier when you’re not doing it alone! Your friends and family can be a source of support for you. You can also connect with other people trying to quit through local support groups where you can ask questions, share experiences and motivate one another.

Quitting is challenging but it’s never too late to quit. We know that every person’s quitting journey is different – but getting the support you need is an important part of your success. If you prefer one-on-one coaching, you can connect with a local counsellor. Or if you prefer to quit on your own, we have downloadable self-help booklets, like One Step at a Time: For Smokers Who Want to Quit, that will provide you with tips and information to guide you through this process. And if you prefer to join a program such as Walk or Run to Quit like Karine, you’ll be able to get help quitting while getting fit at the same time!

Whichever method you decide to use to quit smoking and no matter how many times you’ve attempted to quit, we’re here to help you every step of the way.