Your Health

Smoking cessation

Quitting smoking will lower your risk of developing cancer and lung disease, reduce your risk of getting colds and earaches, and free up a lot of money for other things.

Every year in Nova Scotia, 1,700 people die from smoking and another 200 die from illnesses connected to second-hand smoke.

Dangers of smoking

Tobacco consumption is related to dozens of diseases and conditions and has negative effects on nearly every organ of your body. Smoking is the cause of most cases of lung cancer and is the primary cause of other lung problems, such as chronic bronchitis. Smokers have an increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke, and from cancer of the esophagus, larynx, throat or mouth.

Aside from causing diseases, the chemicals in tobacco smoke can promote wrinkles and can yellow the smoker’s teeth, fingers and fingernails. The senses of taste and smell become weaker, making food less appetizing than it once was. Smoking also increases the risk of infertility and miscarriage in women and the risk of impotence and infertility in men.

Tips to stop smoking

Quitting smoking will lower your risk of developing cancer and lung disease, reduce your risk of getting colds and earaches, and free up a lot of money for other things.
There are many steps to consider in quitting smoking. The most important step is the decision to quit.

Once you decide to quit, you need to make a plan to help you turn your decision into reality.

  • Talk to your doctor about your options
  • Learn from your past attempts at quitting
  • Learn to avoid what triggers your smoking
  • Plan your smoke-free life
  • Plan to cope

Here are some effective resources to help you quit smoking;

Addiction Services (Nova Scotia Health and Wellness)
Quit Now (Health Canada)
Driven to Quit (Canadian Cancer Society)

Electronic cigarettes

Physicians and others in the broader health community are cautious about e-cigarettes due to the lack of scientific evidence demonstrating their safety and efficacy.

Physicians want evidence that these products are safe for their patients. We’re calling for more unbiased scientific research so we can make informed decisions on e-cigarettes.

Although some people report that e-cigarettes have helped them quit smoking, there is limited research demonstrating that e-cigarettes are no more effective than other Health Canada–approved forms of nicotine replacement.

However, there are some additional unknowns with e-cigarettes, because the delivery devices and the liquid cartridges they contain have not gone through the consumer safety testing processes required to be approved by Health Canada as a product safe for human consumption.

We also don’t know the effects of long-term use, the impact e-cigarettes will have on tobacco control or the combined effects of the chemicals in the vapour.

Further research on the benefits and risks of e-cigarettes is needed. Until an e-cigarette product is deemed safe, effective and of acceptable quality by Health Canada, Nova Scotians should be aware of the potential risks with using these products.

Doctors Nova Scotia relies on experts, unbiased peer-reviewed information, and medical journals to inform the public.

Here’s a selection of resources about e-cigarettes from credible health organizations that can help you make an informed decision:


Katie Mallam

Senior policy advisor