While BC may have the lowest smoking rates in Canada, the question remains: why does anyone still smoke at all?

In my practice, patients have successfully quit smoking with the combination of a counselling (which provides strategies for breaking habits before cutting out the nicotine all together) and acupuncture.

But while there are treatments that help them quit the habit, there is still about 15% of the population in BC that still smokes. Why is this?

Most people are aware of the dangers of smoking but many continue to smoke for a variety of reasons.

In a study done in Winconsin, 6000 people who smoked were asked what motivated them to continue. The number one answer in this group was habit, followed closely by addiction.

When we look at all of the quit smoking tools available to the public, very few address the habitual side of this addiction. There are many behavioural changing protocols that can be used to assist in smoking cessation, from counselling to hypnotherapy.

So, we have established it is difficult to quit smoking, so why is it of value to your health?

A study published in the Lancet in 2012 found that among UK women, smokers lose at least 10 years of lifespan.

I could continue to quote the other things that will decrease your quality of life such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, impotence, etc., but I think little hits home as hard as, you will die “at least” 10 years earlier.

So what if you have been a smoker for years, isn’t the damage already done? Many people believe this and it impacts their desire and motivation to quit smoking.

This recent study also showed that “although the hazards of smoking until age 40 years and then stopping are substantial, the hazards of continuing are ten times greater.

Stopping before age 40 years (and preferably well before age 40 years) avoids more than 90% of the excess mortality caused by continuing smoking; stopping before age 30 years avoids more than 97% of it.”. In short, quitting smoking is more beneficial than continuing when looking at mortality rates.

Quitting smoking is a challenging pursuit and I recommend having varying levels of support. If you or someone you care about is contemplating quitting smoking, suggest they find a Naturopathic doctor, preferably who does acupuncture, to support their journey.


Pirie K., Peto R., Reeves G., Green J, Beral, V.,for the Million Women Study Collaborators (2012). The 21st century hazards of smoking and benefits of stopping: a prospective study of one million women in the UK. The Lancet.

Insights: Smoking in Wisconsin. Retreived from https://www.ctri.wisc.edu/Publications/publications/WhyPeopleSmokefl.pdf. Joint collaboration between the Center for tobacco research and intervention, the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention, the UW Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Monitoring and Evaluation Program and the Wisconsin Tobacco Control Board.

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