Number of smokers in Northern B.C. beyond provincial average

Smokers in northern B.C. are lighting up more often than their counterparts in other areas of the province after a study shows the percentage of smokers in Northern Health’s region surpasses the provincial average.

  • Sep. 16, 2011 3:00 p.m.

Cameron Orr

Black Press

 

 

 

Smokers in northern B.C. are lighting up more often than their counterparts in other areas of the province after a study shows the percentage of smokers in Northern Health’s region surpasses the provincial average.

A July report from Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada which documented tobacco rates country-wide noted that in Northern Health’s jurisdiction 23.1 per cent of people were smokers, compared to the provincial percentage of 17.4.

Canada-wide it is 20.8 per cent.

It’s not a surprising statistic according to Julie Kerr, who is the director of Population Health with the Northern Health Authority.

“This is the way it always is. B.C. typically has the lowest rates in all of Canada but the North of B.C. rates are much worse,” she said.

The rate in northern B.C. is so high it works out to about one in four people are smokers.

The factors are wide ranging but some of that comes down to how people in the north live over more urbanized areas down south.

“There are a number of things. Some of it has to do with a northern ‘live hard, play hard, die hard’ mentality where we tend to have a bit of a pioneering spirit and be risk takers as opposed to risk averse,” she said.

Smoking rates are also higher in industrial work, such as work camps. In those settings people may turn to cigarettes or other substances to combat things like boredom.

“Tobacco, among other substances, become ways of dealing with loneliness and boredom.”

Strong links also exist between tobacco use and other factors such as poverty and low literacy, she said.

Northern B.C. smoking rates are typically steady, around the 22-to-25 per cent usage rate. As of this study we’re roughly back to 2008 levels.

“We continually have our work to do around tobacco use in the north,” said Kerr.

Among their strategies are working with your parents.

“One of the best predictors of whether someone will be a smoker is whether they’re raised by smokers or not.”

They work with parents directly and by delivering messages to students in schools, which they hope they take back to their parents.

 

“Tobacco rates in general over time are coming down but we just need to sustain the pressure on it.”

The province have aided the fight against tobacco use with a new program beginning Sept. 30 where B.C. will cover the cost of nicotine replacement therapies.

Premier Christy Clark made the announcement for the program back in May. Under the plan, citizens can get either nicotine gum or patches to help quit smoking with a free 12 week supply.

The cost for the program is estimated to run between $15 and $25 million.

“That levels the playing field a little bit where maybe people before only had access to that if they were well employed,” said Kerr.

Through Northern Health, they’ll also be offering more group counseling sessions, as demand has doubled for counseling over the past 24 months. Kerr said that group sessions tend to be as successful or more over one-on-one.

People can receive information on smoking cessation programs through Northern Health on their website at northernhealth.ca.

 

Just Posted

Couple selling fake jewelry in Fraser Lake, say RCMP

A man and woman have been defrauding local residents, offering fake jewelry for sale

Gitxsan forming cross-sector salmon management team

Nation again declares closure of fishery in territory for 2019

Editorial: The Speaker shouldn’t be an MLA

Time to re-evaluate the Speaker position

Column: condition of cows after winter feeding

The protein content of winter feed is important, says rancher David Zirnhelt

Concept designs for Vanderhoof’s new CNC campus unveiled

Community was invited to provide feedback at a public engagement session Dec. 6

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

B.C. Lions hire DeVone Claybrooks as head coach

Former Stampeders DC succeeds CFL legend Wally Buono

France shooting: 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

A world-famous Christmas market was put on lock down on Tuesday

Canadian warship witnesses possible violations of North Korea sanctions

Crew members on HMCS Calgary took photos and collected other information

Christine Sinclair named Canadian Women’s player of the year again

This is the 14th time Sinclair has been named player of the year

B.C. man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

Nearly 8,000 homeless in B.C., first province-wide count reveals

Twenty-four seperate counts in B.C. cities found there are thousands of homeless in all corners of province

UPDATE: B.C. judge grants $10M bail for Huawei executive wanted by U.S.

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Most Read