It is often said that starting smoking is much easier than quitting smoking. But, with practice and support, quitting is achievable. There are now twice as many former smokers in Simcoe Muskoka than there are current smokers. According to the 2013-2014 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), 42% (38.5%, 45.2%) of Simcoe Muskoka adults (20+ years) considered themselves to be former smokers compared with 22% (18.6%, 25.5%) who currently smoke either daily or occasionally.
The majority of these former smokers have achieved long-term success. Also from the CCHS
between the years of 2011-2014, over half (68% (64.3%, 71.4%
)) of adult (20+) former smokers in Simcoe Muskoka have been smoke-free for 10 years or more.
From the 2014 Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System (RRFSS) survey, about half or 57% (33.9%, 42.4%) of adult smokers in Simcoe Muskoka said they were at least considering quitting smoking in the next six months. From the same survey, about half (46% (36.4%, 54.9%) of current smokers attempted to quit for at least one whole day in the previous twelve months.
This research is supported by the level of participation in such cessation initiatives as the annual provincial quit smoking contest, the 'Driven to Quit Challenge'. In 2015, 8,585 Ontarians who smoked daily (ages 19+ years) entered the contest, including 759 that lived in Simcoe Muskoka. Simcoe Muskoka had more than twice the number of registrants than any other health unit in the Central East region, which also covers: Durham, Peel, York, Peterborough, and Haliburton, Kawartha & Pine Ridge District. An overview of challenge participants from the Central East area shows the average age was 39, with slightly more females (54%) than males registering. Participants smoked about 16 cigarettes a day and on average started smoking at 16 years of age. Most had made two quit attempts in the past year.