Dr. Peter Selby
Chief, Addictions Division, CAMH

Dr. Peter Selby is Chief of the Addictions Division at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto. Dr. Selby sees smoking cessation as a process, not an event — and outlines the motivations and best practices in successful cessation. “There are often different forms of pressure on people to quit; it can come from families or society generally — and that can positively impact motivation,” says Dr. Selby. 

Break the habit

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is an excellent method to break the psychological, physical, and habitual grip of smoking. As craving withers, so too does the constant cycle of reinforcing behaviours — giving the smoker a chance to stop for good. “NRT is extremely effective in helping people quit — generally these medications will double or even quadruple success for those who take them in randomized studies. In the real world, where we’re dealing with different patients — some with a variety of problems and medical conditions — only three percent of those who quit cold turkey are successful after one year — with the use of NRT the numbers triple. So, we know it’s an extremely effective treatment.”

And, with some five million people in Canada still smoking despite price hikes, legislation, and restrictions on products and advertising, it remains as important as ever to fight the problem. It is a challenge, but it is a challenge that can be overcome.