by Morinville News Staff
The Government of Canada, Canadian Cancer Society, and the Running Room are partnering in what they are calling an innovative program to help quit smoking. The Run to Quit Smoking program launched July 28 and is designed to help participants learn to run 5 kilometres over a 10-week period while getting support to quit smoking.
“Quitting smoking is not easy,” said Cathy McLeod, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Kamloops – Thompson – Cariboo, in a release on the program. “Run to Quit takes an innovative approach to help Canadians quit while improving their overall health through physical activity.”
Those participating in the program will have two options: an in-person running clinic at a Running Room location and an on-line running clinic participants can complete at home. The in store program will be offered by a Run to Quit coach, and the online component will include access to online support by trained coaches.
Participants will receive free self-help materials developed by the Canadian Cancer Society as well as connection to the quit-smoking helpline in their province or territory.
There is also a Quit and Win” challenge with prizes and incentives.
The project will roll out to all 100 Running Room locations over five years. Organizers are anticipating 4500 Canadians will participate in the program in person or through the online training.
Running Room founder and CEO John Stanton said he was pleased to partner with the government and the Canadian Cancer Society.
“Together the proven programs will provide motivation, support, and education while instilling the discipline to lead a healthier life,” Stanton said. “Our goal is clear – to stop the incidence of smoking through education and support, all while expanding their circle of like-minded friends.”
It is expected approximately 4500 Canadians will participate in Run to Quit through in-person clinics and online training.
The government says running helps 25 per cent of smokers quit successfully, compared to 4 per cent who just quit without support. They cite a pilot Run to Quit project in Ottawa where 29 per cent quit six months after completing the pilot program.
The Public Health Agency of Canada, the Running Room, the Canadian Cancer Society and the University of Toronto are investing $6.5 million in the initiative over five years.
Martin Kabat, CEO of Ontario’s Canadian Cancer Society Division said he was pleased to see the partnership.
“The federal government’s investment in Run to Quit demonstrates how government, non-profit, and for-profit sectors can come together to help prevent cancer and encourage healthier living,” he said. “Through Run to Quit, smokers will be engaged in a new way to quit smoking while learning to run all within a supportive setting.”
Government statistics shows smoking is at all-time Canadian low, dropping from 21 per cent to 15 per cent of the population over the past decade.