Say goodbye to smoking on World No Tobacco Day, Nunavut government urges

In 2017-18, 59 million cigarettes were sold in Nunavut

This poster from Tunngasuvingat Inuit urges participation in World No Tobacco Day. If everyone in Nunavut didn’t smoke on Friday, May 31, it would mean roughly 160,000 cigarettes would not be lit in the territory that day.

By Nunatsiaq News

If all the smokers in Nunavut gave up cigarettes today, May 31, on World No Tobacco Day, about 160,000 fewer cigarettes would be smoked in the territory that day.

In 2017-18, more than 59 million cigarettes were sold in Nunavut, more than in any previous year.

That number increased slightly (0.34 per cent) over the previous fiscal year, according to the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s 2017-18 Tobacco Control Act Annual Report.

This is despite a tax increase of five cents per cigarette introduced in March 2017 to reduce consumption.

So high tobacco use in Nunavut remains “a pressing concern” for Nunavut’s Health Department, the report said.

In 2016, only 16.9 per cent of Canadians aged 12 or older residing in the provinces identified as smokers, whereas 74 per cent of Nunavummiut aged 16 or older years, that is, about three in four, reported smoking, the report states.

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Sales of non-cigarette smoked tobacco products (like loose tobacco) and non-smoked tobacco products (like chew) did decrease in 2017-18 by 37.43 per cent and 8.17 per cent, respectively.

But, with the continued increase in cigarette sales, addressing tobacco use and minimizing its adverse outcomes is still a departmental priority, the Health Department said.

Those outcomes include an increased risk of getting tuberculosis, which is higher in Nunavut than anywhere else in Canada.

As well, the Canadian Cancer Society revealed in 2013 that the incidence of lung cancer among Nunavut’s Inuit is higher than most other populations in the world.

The death rate for lung cancer among Nunavut women is about five times greater than for Canada as a whole and the lung cancer death rate for Nunavut men is about four times greater.

The report said smoking is a significant cause of the disease.

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But if you live in Nunavut and want to stop smoking, you can get support.

Replacement therapy products like the nicotine patch, gum and inhaler are available for free at local health centres or the pharmacy.

All Nunavut Inuit can go to any pharmacy in the territory and ask the pharmacist for two weeks of free nicotine-replacement products. The pharmacist will first ask a couple of questions about how much they smoke, to find out which product is best. That could be gum, lozenges, inhalers or an under-the-tongue spray with different doses.

When it comes to any non-Inuit looking to quit smoking in Nunavut, they can also get free products, but only at the public health office or medical centre.

The Department of Health also suggests speaking with a local health care provider or calling the Nunavut QuitLine at 1-866-368-7848 for advice on kicking the habit.

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(5) Comments:

  1. Posted by Northern Guy on

    If Nunavummiut smoked 59 million cigarettes, with 20 cigarettes in each pack that translates into 2,950,000 packs of cigarettes. With an average store price of $20 per pack that means Nunavummiut put $59,000,000 of their hard earned dollars into smoking something that will almost certainly give them either COPD or some form of cancer. Which in turn leads to higher health care costs that have to be bourne by all taxpayers here in Nunavut. Absolutely disgusting!

  2. Posted by Fake Plastic Tree on

    Though obviously not conventional, to date one of the most promising therapies discovered to quit smoking has been with psilocybin, the active compound in ‘magic’ mushrooms. While studies so far have been small, it is definitely worth taking note of the results. For example, a recent experiment by John Hopkins University where, I will quote from their webpage, “researchers report 15 study participants taking psilocybin achieved an 80 percent abstinence rate over six months, compared to an approximate 35 percent success rate for patients taking verenicline, which is widely considered to be the most effective smoking cessation drug.” Again this is a small sample, but the results are very promising and demand a deeper look. Also, please note that the conditions under which the psychedelic experience are conducted are very specific and always include a guide. This is not an endorsement to get “high on shrooms” and expect results like this. The transformative mechanism in all this seems to be profound insight. In any case if you are interested in the methodology and the study itself, please refer to the following link: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/magic_mushrooms_help_longtime_smokers_quit

    I would also recommend a look at Michael Pollan’s book ‘How to Change your Mind’ . Here is a link to a talk he gave on this topic, at Google in 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuhmZSFvhL0

  3. Posted by Tim Smith – Director, Pharmacy Operations on

    Short clarification on availability of tobacco cessation aids from Nunavut pharmacies:

    Inuit beneficiaries can access a variety of nicotine replacement products (“NRT”) at Northern/NorthMart pharmacies — including nicotine patch, gum, lozenge, inhaler, and quick mist spray.

    These items are fully covered under NIHB benefits up to a maximum total of 252 patches (36 weeks) AND 945 doses of gum/lozenge/spray/inhaler every 365 days. There is no requirement to provide only 2 weeks to start — quantity provided can vary between 1 week and 3 months per fill.

    These tobacco cessation products are available on “recommendation” after a consult with the Pharmacist, who will help you determine the most appropriate options and dose, as well as provide you with tips and ideas to support being smoke-free. We can also help link you to the Nunavut Quits help line for additional support.

    While some people are able to quit tobacco without support, evidence shows your chances of success increase significantly with guidance from health professionals and use of proven tobacco cessation products.

    We are committed to a healthier Nunavut. Ask your Pharmacist how they can support you becoming smoke-free.

  4. Posted by Seela on

    Give up smoking Nunavummiut – it gets unhealthier every year for you to smoke.

    Save alot of money and buy other things.

    Stop the addiction to cigarettes; they stink and you smell of burning chemicals all day long.

  5. Posted by Belmont DuMaurier on

    Smoking the weed is okay, right?

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