A program urging people to run to quit smoking hits Nanaimo

By Ian Holmes
April 2, 2017 - 8:18am Updated: April 3, 2017 - 5:01pm

Running Room founder John Stanton used to be a heavy smoker. He focused on running to butt out.Running Room

NANAIMO — A lot of eyes are paying attention to a quit smoking strategy showing positive signs for those hoping to snuff out for good.

Nanaimo's first ever Run to Quit clinic starts on Monday, April 3.

The 10-week program is being hosted by Running Room at Country Club Centre. The concept has the attention of the Public Health Agency of Canada and Canadian Cancer Society.

“If we can show people the advantages of being fit and that you can get addicted to feeling good about yourself and getting high on the fact that you're getting healthy, that's an important thing,” said Run to Quit founder John Stanton.

Stanton said a UBC study showed 40 per cent of 83 people in Canada who completed the program last year have quit smoking, a far higher rate of success than most smoking cessation programs.

He said besides replacing a negative addiction with a positive one, the team environment of Run to Quit is a big help.

“It's people who are faced with the same kinds of challenges you are, they celebrate their successes, but they can also share when they hit speed-bumps and fall off the wagon.”

He said the program eases people into running with a goal of running 5 km non-stop at the conclusion of the 10 weeks.

Stanton is a former overweight, two-pack-a-day smoker who himself turned to running to quit the habit.

The latest Statistics Canada figures show the national smoking rate is 18.1 per cent, while British Columbia's rate is the lowest in the country at 14.3 per cent.

Island Health estimates the smoking rate in Nanaimo is close to the national average.

NanaimoNewsNOW reporter Spencer Sterritt will be taking part in the local Run to Quit clinic and will provide updates on his odyssey.


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