The STOP (Smoking Treatment for Ontario Patients) program is launching a new online version called STOP on the Net.
The new program offers participants a free supply of nicotine patches and gum to help quit smoking.
Participants will be mailed the free nicotine patches and gum if they qualify and asked to take part in two follow-up surveys with researchers to see how they are faring with their quit smoking efforts. Resources to help people through the quitting process will also be available online.
Area residents who are 18 years and older and trying to quit smoking are encouraged to sign up for STOP on the Net, especially as supplies of nicotine replacement therapy products are limited.
“We know COVID-19 has been very stressful on people and had a major impact on mental health,” says Karen Taylor, a public health nurse with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPRDHU). “Some people may be using tobacco more to cope during this pandemic. STOP on the Net is a great tool to quit given that supports are delivered right to your door.”
Unlike the regular STOP program, the online version does not require an in-person visit with a health care provider. Taylor says that can bring peace of mind to people trying to quit tobacco, but who may be wary of going out and potentially increasing their exposure to COVID-19.
Over the past few years, the in-person STOP program has had considerable success in helping smokers to quit.
“Nicotine patches greatly improve the chances of quitting smoking, but some people may not be able to afford them,” Taylor notes. “With STOP, nicotine patches and gum are provided free of charge and this has helped many, many people successfully quit their tobacco addiction once and for all.”
Taylor is optimistic STOP on the Net will duplicate this success, especially as the online program is easily accessible from home.
She is also hopeful the benefits of becoming tobacco-free will speak loudly to area residents. “The physical and health benefits of being tobacco-free start almost immediately,” Taylor notes. “You also have more energy and money in your pocket not having to pay for cigarettes.”
To find out if you are eligible, or to enroll, visit the STOP on the Net web page.