Live Tobacco-Free

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About Quitting

Do you want to quit smoking cigarettes?

We can help. Attend a free STOP cessation workshop presented by a Toronto Public Health Nurse to learn about: 

  • Cessation strategies - how to start a quit attempt
  • Nicotine Replacement Therapy - the different types and how to use them
  • Resources for quitting - eligible participants will receive free nicotine patches

For more information, call Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 (Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.).

STOP Workshops

  • Parliament Library
    Address: 269 Gerrard Street East
    Date: Wednesday, September 20, 2017
    Time: 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

  • Woodside Square Library
    Address: 1571 Sandhurst Circle
    Date: Saturday, September 30, 2017
    Time: 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

  • Morningside Library
    Address: 4279 Lawrence Avenue East
    Date: Saturday, October 14, 2017
    Time: 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

  • Toronto Public Health Crossway Office
    Address: 2340 Dundas Street West., Unit G9
    Date: Thursday, November 30, 2017
    Time: 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Facts About Quitting

Did you know:

  • Nicotine from smoking is more addictive than heroin and cocaine.
  • Even occasional tobacco use (social smoking) can lead to daily smoking and addiction.
  • Your brain craves nicotine once it's gone and it takes time to get used to living without tobacco.
  • When the nicotine level in your system begins to drop you'll probably feel irritable, restless and have problems with concentration; this is called withdrawal.
  • Quitting is a process, not an event. It takes most smokers many quit attempts before they are smoke-free for life. Learn how to get started.
  • Stop smoking medications can double your chances of quitting successfully.
  • When you use more than one type of support (e.g. counselling and medication), you are more likely to stay smoke-free.

For a free Quit Kit contact **Toronto Public Health at or 416-338-7600.

Our Quit Kit includes: sugarless gum, a stress ball, a toothbrush and other tools to help you through your cravings.

** The personal information in this e-mail is collected under the authority of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, 1990, s. 9.

Learn about quitting smoking from Dr. Mike Evans (St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto)

Talk to your healthcare provider

  • Using a medication to help you quit tobacco can double your chances of success.
  • Your healthcare provider can also let you know about other services available to help you in your quit attempt i.e. smokers' helpline.

Think about your tobacco use

  • Think about when and why you are smoking. Do you use tobacco at different times of the day, sometimes without thinking about it?
  • Make notes to understand what your triggers are and think about what you'll do instead.
  • Imagine what your life will look like when you do not use tobacco.
  • If you had success in being tobacco-free before, what helped you? Each quit attempt can teach you something that will help the next one.

Make a quit plan

  • Plan to eat something healthy every 3-4 hours so you don't feel hungry. Fruits, vegetables (i.e. carrot sticks, celery, apple slices) and other high fibre foods are good choices.
  • Plan to be more active. Replace a tobacco break with an activity break i.e. going for a walk.
  • Throw out matches, lighters, ashtrays and avoid situations that could trigger you to use tobacco.
  • Talk to family members and friends about your decision and ask them for support.
  • Think about if there is anyone in your life who will not want you to quit. How will you deal with it

Set a quit date

  • Once you have your strategies in place, start thinking about a quit date that will work for you.
  • You may want to try a "quit morning" or start to reduce your daily tobacco use prior to your quit date as a way to begin.

Manage cravings

  • Delay -€“ It works. The urge will pass!
  • Deep breathe -€“ Taking time to relax can help you manage your cravings.
  • Drink water -€“ Drinking 6-8 glasses a day can help you flush out toxins and hydrate your body.
  • Do something you enjoy -€“ Go for a walk, chew carrot sticks, brush your teeth. You can get through the craving.
  • Dialogue -€“ Call smokers' helpline or talk to a friend for support.

Stay tobacco-free

  • Remember once you are living tobacco-free there is no amount of tobacco that is safe for you to use. Using tobacco, even once, can lead you back to consuming the same amount, or even more than before.

Get help to Quit

First step - talk to your health care provider about quitting tobacco. This can be your:

  • Counsellor
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Dentist
  • Diabetes or Asthma Educator
  • Doctor
  • Nurse
  • Social Worker
  • Pharmacist

When you start your quit attempt, your body will go through withdrawal from nicotine. Withdrawal symptoms peak between the first 2-4 days. Having a plan can help you get past your cravings e.g. chewing sugarless gum, squeezing a stress ball. Determining what will work for you when it comes to managing cravings will help you beat them. Cravings can be intense, but they pass and you can do it! Here are common withdrawal symptoms and ways to deal with them:


  • Drink at least 6 - 8 glasses of water a day.
  • Eat whole grain bread and cereals, as well as fruit and vegetables.
  • Drink prune juice.
  • Go for a walk or do another activity that you enjoy.


  • Drink water to flush out toxins and hydrate your body.
  • Take a warm shower or bath.


  • Go for a walk or do another activity that you enjoy.
  • Maintain regular bedtime and wake times.
  • Drink at least 6 - 8 glasses of water a day.

Dizziness, headache

  • Use relaxation techniques e.g. deep abdominal breathing.
  • See a health care provider if headaches or dizziness are persistent or severe.


  • Snack on fruit, vegetables or other healthy foods.
  • Maintain regular mealtimes.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Get more food tips for quitting (PDF).

Feelings of anger, restlessness, nervousness

  • Ask your friends and family members for support.
  • Get advice from a quit specialist at smokers' helpline.
  • Avoid stressful situations when possible.
  • Drink less coffee, cola, tea and other caffeinated drinks.
  • Take some deep breaths – take the time to relax.
  • Play with small objects like a key chain, pen or stress ball.
  • Go for a walk.

Dry mouth, cough

  • Drink water.
  • Breathe deeply.
  • Chew sugarless gum; suck mints (sugar-free).

Can't concentrate

  • Take some deep breaths.
  • Rest.
  • Take a break from what you're doing. Do something else for a few minutes.
  • Go for an activity break - a quick walk can help re-energize your mind and your body.

Feeling down

  • Get support. Call smokers' helpline or talk to a friend.
  • Remind yourself of the positive things about quitting.
  • Talk to your health care provider often during your quit attempt, especially if you are experiencing a change in your mood and/or your withdrawal symptoms are not manageable.

Difficulty sleeping

  • Relax with a warm shower or bath.
  • Do deep breathing exercises.
  • Being active during the day can help you sleep better at night.
  • Drink less coffee, cola, tea and other caffeinated drinks.

If withdrawal symptoms continue or seem to get worse, you should check with your heath care provider. It's possible that your smoking has been hiding the symptoms of an illness.

Get Help to Quit

In August 2011, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care announced funding for the Pharmacy Smoking Cessation Program; pharmacists provide quit smoking counselling for people receiving the Ontario Drug Benefit

In October 2012, the Ontario government gave pharmacists the authority to prescribe drugs to help people quit tobacco.

You can also speak to a quit coach at Smokers' helpline at 1-877-513-5333. Personalized telephone counselling is available in 100 languages.

Using a medication to help you quit tobacco can double your chances of success. Check your employer's health benefits. You may have insurance coverage for medications and counselling.

  • Nicotine Patch, Gum, Lozenge, Inhaler and Mouth Spray (Nicotine Replacement Therapy - NRT)
    NRT provides nicotine your body craves, but in a safer form. All tobacco products contain carcinogens (things that cause cancer) but NRT does not. NRT is available over-the-counter and is best used with supportive counselling. Consult with your health care professional about recommendations for use.
  • Bupropion (also known as Wellbutrin or Zyban)
    Nicotine-free drug. Prescribed by your doctor and best used with supportive counselling.
  • Varenicline Tartrate (also known as Champix)
    Nicotine-free drug. Prescribed by your doctor and best used with supportive counselling.
  • The Ontario Drug Benefit
    Champix and Zyban were added to its formulary in 2011. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine whether one of these medications could work for you.

To learn more about medications for quitting, see Health Canada's information on quit smoking aids.