Smoke is smoke- limit your exposure to it

Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit

Whether it comes from tobacco, cannabis (marijuana) or hookah pipe, smoke is smoke and you need to limit your exposure to it. That is the main message of National Non-Smoking Week,which runs through Saturday, January 27th.

Established in 1977 by the Canadian Council for Tobacco Control, National Non-Smoking Week is a coast-to-coast effort to inform and educate Canadians about the dangers of tobacco use, to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke and to support those who currently use tobacco, to quit.

While most people know there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke, many are unaware of the health risks associated with the exposure to cannabis smoke and smoke from a hookah pipe. Many of the same fine particles, cancer-causing compounds, volatie organic compounds, carbon monoxide and heavy metals are found in both tobacco and cannabis smoke.

The smoke from a hookah pipe can also cause serious health risks, similar to those posed by tobacco and cannabis smoke. Hookahs are water pipes that are used to smoke flavoured specialty-made tobacco and herbal shisha. The charcoal used to heat the product produces very high levels of carbon monoxide, heavy metals, and cancer-causing chemicals. One hookah session involves inhaling 90,000 millilters (ml) of smoke, compared with 500-600 ml when smoking a cigarette.

The Public Health Unit recommends that everyone limit their exposure to smoke – whether tobacco, cannabis or hookah smoke. This is especially important for children, pregnant women, older adults and those with pre-existing health conditions, such as asthma, lung and heart diseases.

For those looking for tobacco quit support, there are free services in Chatham Kent to help:

Free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (patch, gum, lozenge, and inhaler) is available for you if you are part of a Family Health Team or a Community Health Centre.  Call your health care provider and find out what they can do for you. If you are not part of a Family Health Team or Community Health Centre, call the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit at 519 352 7270.

Free Nicotine Replacement Therapy is available for young adults ages 18-29 through Leave The Pack Behind at medication to help you quit is available to individuals on the Ontario Drug Benefit Program. A prescription is necessary for this medication – talk to your health care provider.

FREE telephone, online chat and text support can be accessed through Smokers’ Helpline at 1 877 513 5333 or or by texting “iQuit” to 123456 (charges may apply).

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