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Study aims to help smokers butt out

Fifty smokers in Fort Frances could get the help they need to quit smoking with free nicotine replacement therapy.

By participating in the STOP study (Smoking Treatment for Ontario Patients), eligible smokers will receive 10 weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy as gum, patches, or inhalers.

The STOP study, conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health partnering with the Northwestern Health Unit and Smokers’ Helpline, will host a stop smoking workshop in Fort Frances next Monday (Nov. 26).

The three-hour workshop will provide smokers with information on how to use nicotine replacement therapy and assistance in preparing a personal quit plan.

Free nicotine therapy will be available to them at the completion of the workshop.

“If people are able to quit sooner, they may be able to prevent the onset of serious illnesses brought on by smoking,” said Dr. Peter Selby, clinical director of addiction programs, CAMH, and principal investigator of the STOP study.

“This study will allow us to help people along the process and monitor which quit methods are most effective,” he noted. “This way, we will be able to better treat people in the future.”

Started in 2006, the STOP study already has distributed free nicotine replacement therapies such as the nicotine gum, patches and nicotine inhalers to more than 20,000 adults in Ontario.

In return, participating smokers will try to stop smoking while using nicotine replacement therapy.

Three follow-up telephone calls, spaced over 12 months, will help the researchers learn more about the long-term impact of using nicotine replacement on quitting smoking and remaining smoke-free.

Interested smokers should call the Northwestern Health Unit at 1-888-404-4231 to find out if they qualify to participate in the study.

The STOP study is funded by Smoke-Free Ontario.

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