The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society and Ontario Health's Indigenous Cancer Care Unit, is launching the Talk Tobacco program. The program offers culturally-appropriate support for quitting smoking, vaping and commercial tobacco use to Indigenous people and communities in British Columbia (BC).
Talk Tobacco initially launched in Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan in April 2020 after two years of engagement with First Nations, Inuit and Métis leaders, health care providers and community members. The program is now available in BC and is designed to provide free, confidential, culturally-appropriate and accessible support to quit/reduce smoking, vaping and other commercial tobacco use.
Support is available by telephone, text message and live chat. The service is free and confidential, open seven days a week and offers interpretation in many Indigenous languages.
Traditional versus Commercial Tobacco Use
While traditional or ceremonial tobacco is used to connect with the land and our ancestors in ceremony and prayer, bringing many health benefits to the First Nations communities that use it, commercial tobacco can have serious health impacts and cause respiratory health problems.
Smoking is responsible for an estimated 30 per cent of all cancer deaths in Canada. It is estimated that over 85 per cent of all lung cancer cases are directly related to smoking commercial tobacco. Lung cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among First Nations people, with a worrying trend showing these rates are increasing.
Help with Quitting Commercial Tobacco
The path to quitting/reducing commercial tobacco is not always easy and doesn't look the same for everyone, which is why having a range of cessation services is crucial. Talk Tobacco's phone, live chat and text services connect tobacco users with a Quit Coach for real-time, personalized support wherever they are in their quitting journey. Free and confidential services can be accessed on an ad hoc or scheduled basis at the user's convenience.
A Talk Tobacco Quit Coach helps with creating a personalized quit plan, coping with cravings and withdrawal symptoms and finding available supports and resources in your area. Callers can also schedule follow-up calls with their Quit Coach to check in and provide consistent support along the journey to quit commercial tobacco use.
There are also many tools to support your quitting journey including nicotine replacement therapies and other prescription medications that are covered under the First Nations Health Benefits (see Quitting Commercial Tobacco FAQ).
For more information on how to access services, download the Talk Tobacco poster and Talk Tobacco postcard.
For more resources on the risks of smoking and vaping: