It's National Non-Smoking Week 2018, and if you are making this year your year to quit, Alberta Health Services Addictions Counselor Martin McSween has some advice for you.

martinmcsweenMartin McSween.

First, he says that people should be aware of what the smoking rates in Canada actually are. He explained that whenever he does an anti-smoking presentation, his audience members always perceive that there are more smokers in the country than there really are.

"So, normally, when I ask that, adults and young usually guess between 30 and 80 per cent," McSween said. "So, that's the perception out there, and the actual is 15 per cent. But, most people won't even guess that."

One of the big things that has caused smoking rates in Canada to drop over the past decades is an increase in price.

"One thing that is a rationale for quitting is the jump in prices, which is helpful," explained McSween. "It actually does make a difference with youth. Anytime you have an increase [in price], you have a drop in youth use, which is amazing."

McSween points out a big problem with many anti-smoking tools is their cost.

"What sometimes creates a barrier for quitting for some people who are trying to make changes is with that nicotine replacement therapy -- like the gum, patch, lozenge, spray -- you have to pay upfront, whereas [with] cigarettes, you pay as you go."

People looking to quit smoking can call McSween's office at 403 820-7863, or the Addiction Helpline at 1-866-332-2322.

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