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Tobacco-Free Living Champions

As part of its vision to promote a tobacco-free province, the New Brunswick Anti-Tobacco Coalition shares success stories from individuals, groups and organizations who have taken action to live tobacco-free in their homes, schools, workplaces and communities. An interesting collection of stories that highlight inspiring ideas and celebrates tobacco-free living champions within our province is published here.

All across New Brunswick, communities and individuals are promoting healthy tobacco-free lifestyles. Do you have a success story to share? We'd love to hear and showcase your story! Contact us. We also encourage you to follow us on Twitter and share the links to these stories - simply look for the #TobaccoFreeLiving #Champions hashtags.  

New Brunswick Tobacco-Free Living Champions Stories: 


Parks & Trails Day NB 2019 – Make Your Event Smoke-Free!
As a member of the Parks & Trails Day NB Committee, the New Brunswick Anti-Tobacco Coalition (NBATC) recognizes the importance of having access to wellness supportive smoke-free outdoor spaces for New Brunswickers. Ensuring that outdoor spaces are smoke-free and enforcing a smoke-free policy during outdoor community events like Parks & Trails Day protects people, especially children, from exposure to dangerous second-hand tobacco smoke. Think organizing a public outdoor smoke-free event and ensuring people will respect the smoke-free nature of the event is difficult? Think again. Read the following testimonials from #TobaccoFreeLiving #Champion Town of Quispamsis, and you will see that smoke-free is easy to achieve! Read more. 

Wellness Movement Champions Stories - Tobacco and Smoke-Free Living 
We all have a wellness story, whether it’s our own personal journey, being part of a group initiative, or seeing a need and helping create a wellness-supporting environment to help make healthy choices more accessible for others. One of the missions of our friends at The Wellness Movement is to bring light to some inspiring individuals or initiatives in New Brunswick, to help celebrate these Wellness Champions and inspire others. The NBATC invites you to discover The Wellness Movement's Champions stories published over the years which feature tobacco and smoke-free living. Read more.


My daughter Sophie was my inspiration to live tobacco-free!”
Wellness Week Contest Winner Lynne Pitcher Shares Her Quit Smoking Journey
Lynne Pitcher, 37, Riverview, NB, credits her daughter Sophie, 5, for being the inspiration and strength she and her husband, Rob Pitcher, needed to break free from their personal prison as smokers to be able to now proudly live tobacco-free. Read more

It’s Never Too Late to Quit Smoking! Two Inspiring New Brunswick Women Show that Tobacco-Free Living Can be Achieved and Is Worth It for Long-Term Smokers.
Corinna Savage (66, Riverview, NB) and Yvette Austin (79, Saint Pons, NB) are two inspiring women in their senior years who prove that tobacco-free living is possible at any age and is worth it—even after decades of being a smoker. Read more.

Parks & Trails Day NB – An Excellent Opportunity for Outdoor Smoke-Free Events
Parks & Trails Day NB is an annual event held on the first Saturday of June which provides an opportunity to promote healthy, active living in communities across the province while celebrating New Brunswick’s many incredible outdoor spaces. Every year, several thousand New Brunswickers take to their favourite trails, parks, paths, and waterways! The NBATC, as well as the entire Parks & Trails Day NB Committee, were thus very proud to see that organizers for all the 2018 events indicated that their event would be smoke-free. New Brunswickers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of smoke-free spaces. Deciding that a public outdoor event will be smoke-free is a great way to ensure the well-being of event attendees while promoting healthy tobacco-free lifestyles. The Town of Quispamis provides an excellent example of such leadership. Read more. 

New Brunswickers Achieve Healthy Tobacco-Free Lifestyle Thanks to Walk or Run to Quit
Walk or Run to Quit — a program run by the Canadian Cancer Society in partnership with the Running Room, aims to help smokers quit smoking by getting active and learning to walk or run 5 km. One lucky New Brunswicker, Diane Beaulieu, even won a very well deserved $1,000 cash prize in 2017, to top off her amazing quit smoking Walk or Run to Quit success story. Read more.

Marlene O’Neill Celebrates Tobacco-Free Living. Freedom from Cigarettes After Being a Smoker for 50 Years.
This past January, the NBATC held a #SayNoToTobacco Facebook contest celebrating National Non-Smoking Week by encouraging people to share why they are proud to live tobacco-free and encourage a friend or loved one on their own tobacco-free living journey. One of the winning entries was Marlene O’Neill (64 years old, Waasis, NB), who received a $50 prize for her participation. Eager to take advantage of the contest, she wanted to share the fact that she had recently quit smoking and was still going strong 5 months into her tobacco-free journey. It is important to note that Marlene had been a smoker for over 50 years, so this represents quite an achievement. Read more

Winners of the NBATC’s #SayNoToTobacco Facebook Contest Will Make You Realize How Important It Is to Take Care of Your Lungs
The New Brunswick Anti-Tobacco Coalition’s (NBATC) National Non-Smoking Week #SayNoToTobacco Facebook Contest winners Valérie Doiron St-Coeur (29, Brantville, NB) and Josée Mallais (36, Tracadie, NB) are an inspiring duo. You would never know upon meeting Valérie that she almost lost her life to cystic fibrosis. She lives a normal, healthy life these days thanks to a double lung transplant received in 2014. Her battle with the disease, deteriorating health, time spent in hospitals, and near-death experience have been a wake-up call to many friends and loved ones on how vital our lungs are. Friends like Josée Mallais have drawn inspiration from Valérie to succeed in quitting smoking. Contacted by the NBATC upon winning the contest, the pair eagerly shared their admiration for each other and their touching stories. Read more

CCNB Edmundston Leads the Way in New Brunswick With Province’s First Smoke-Free Campus
The Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick (CCNB) Edmundston Campus became the first college campus in New Brunswick to implement a smoke-free environment policy in September 2017. Under New Brunswick’s Smoke-Free Places Act, all elementary, middle and high schools must have smoke-free grounds. Post-secondary institutions are not required to be completely smoke-free, but they must enforce a 9m smoke-free zone around all campus entrances. The CCNB Edmundston Campus is a great example of how universities and campuses can be proactive and implement their own smoke-free policy – thus keeping up with the public’s demand for healthier spaces throughout the province and promoting health and wellbeing for their students and employees. Read more.

Irving Oil Refinery’s Tobacco-Free Workplace Program, a Model for Success
The Irving Oil Ltd. refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick is a great example of how companies can promote health and well-being in the workplace, by taking action on tobacco use. Winner of a National Heart & Stroke Foundation Tobacco-Free Innovation Award in 2013, it is the first oil refinery in all of Canada to create and implement a Tobacco-Free Workplace policy for its employees, which is now celebrating its 5th year anniversary. Launched on July 2, 2012, the Irving Oil Ltd. refinery’s Tobacco-Free Workplace program not only prohibits smoking on the entire grounds of its property (780 acres), but also supports employees in their journey towards quitting smoking. Read more.

“People don’t realize just how powerful of an addiction it can be.”Randy Hunter Hopes His Story Can Warn Young People About the Dangers of Tobacco.
Mayor Randy Hunter, 64, of Tide Head, New Brunswick is one of those energetic and positive people you instantly like upon meeting. The former teacher (34 years of service at various schools, with the last 12 years at Sugarloaf Senior High School in Campbellton) turned mayor is a much-loved member of his community, having spent his entire life devoted to community service. Despite a recent near death-scare and numerous health issues, Randy continues to love and thrive in his role as Mayor. Eager to share his story, he has a powerful warning about the dangers of tobacco. Randy used to be a heavy smoker, which almost cost him his life. Read more


''Run to Quit'' Helps New Brunswickers Get Active to Overcome their Nicotine Addiction
Physical activity is often recommended by health practitioners and is a powerful tool in a smokers’ arsenal to quit smoking. Exercise reduces cravings and helps manage withdrawal symptoms. That is the basis upon which the “Run to Quit” program is built. An initiative of the Canadian Cancer Society and the Running Room, it aims to help smokers quit by learning to walk or run 5 km. Participants can join a 10-week Run to Quit training program in-store at their local Running Room or virtually. There is also a free “Do It Yourself” option, which provides smokers with information and resources via email to help them quit. Everyone who joins and quits by the target date can be eligible for cash prizes. Read more.

Tobacco Is Harmful to Animals Too: Embracing Tobacco-Free Living Is the Best Thing Pet Owners Can Do!
The harmful effects of second-hand cigarette smoke are well known, which is why many smokers will refrain or are asked to refrain from smoking around friends, family members and, especially, children. But most people don’t often stop and think about how their tobacco use can affect their beloved animals. There are, however, some genuine risks to smoking near your pet. Frequent smoking in enclosed areas, like homes, apartments, and cars, increases the toxic load on a pet’s lungs just as it does on humans. Read more.

The Journey Into Motherhood as a Catalyst for Embracing a Healthier Tobacco-Free Lifestyle: Four New Brunswick Women Share Their Story.
For many women who smoke, pregnancy is perhaps the most motivating life event that can break their nicotine addiction for good. It is well known that tobacco use during pregnancy results in serious risks for both the woman and the fetus, which is why health professionals strongly recommend that women do not smoke during pregnancy. Read more

A Father and Artist’s Journey to Becoming Smoke-Free: Patrick Hardy’s Story
Patrick Hardy, 42, is a well-known spokesperson for autism, thanks to a book series called My Friend Sam, which presents the daily struggles that children who are diagnosed with autism deal with every day, inspired by his son Samuel, now 11 years old. Few people know that this prolific author, illustrator and artist has another personal accomplishment very dear to his heart but that he seldom talks about: he has been smoke-free for the past 11 years. And much like his book series, it was thanks to his son Samuel that he found a new passion: tobacco-free living! Read more.

A Group Effort at School and in the Community: the Success Story of Fundy High School
Sarah Morgan-Lee is a science and math teacher at Fundy High School. She also works with the school's Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) group. "Our name is our mission," she said. The group consists of 20 students, ranging from grades 9 to 12, as well as different members of the school's staff and professional health practitioners. Their goal is to promote and support tobacco-free living at school and in the community. Read more.

Stop Smoking, Start Living! at Harvest House Atlantic
Denise McCluskey is the Development and Marketing Officer at Harvest House Atlantic in Moncton. The centre has been a staple of the city since 1997, offering an emergency homeless shelter, serving over 150 meals a day, and hosting several recovery and General Educational Development programs. Through a government program, the centre hired an employee to keep the location clean. Denise explains that no matter how well he cleaned the grounds, when she arrived to work in the morning, she found cigarette butts everywhere. Read more.

Let the Students Choose Their Path: the Ridgeview Middle School Success sSory
The Ridgeview Middle School teaches 289 students from grades 6 to 8 in the Oromocto region. Wendy Carlisle, the school coordinator, with Julie Carr and Pat Kilfillen, two public health nurses, facilitate the school's first Middle School TATU Club, with the help of a Take Action Against Tobacco Use grant from the Department of Social Development. Read more.

Information and Life-Skills to Prevent Smoking in Children: the Success Story of the St. Joseph's Community Health Centre
Kathy London Anthony works as a community health nurse at the St. Joseph's Community Health Centre in Saint John. Inside St. Joseph's Hospital, a team of professionals, including family physicians, nurses and social workers offer a variety of services to residents in the area. On a day-to-day basis, Kathy explains that prevention is key to providing health care. Read more.


Smoke-Free, at School and in the Community: the Property Surrounding Cité des Jeunes A.-M. Sormany goes 100% smoke-free!
For the 965 students, back-to-school was special this year at Cité des Jeunes A.-M. Sormany in Edmundston. Since September 1st, 2016, with the help of the Take Action on Tobacco Use Grant Program, the school launched the « Un environnement sans fumée, à l'école et dans ma communauté » (A smoke-free environment at school and in my community) program, which makes the school and neighbouring properties, including various sports and arts facilities, 100% smoke-free. Read more.

The Moncton Hospital Marks Successful Completion of a Year of Smoke-Free Together Throughout New Brunswick
On October 5, 2016, the Moncton Hospital became the final hospital in the Horizon Health Network to join the Smoke-Free Environment Policy. "The event went very well. It's a matter of health and safety for the patients, employees and visitors," explained Dr. Serge Melanson, Chief of Staff at the Moncton Hospital. Read more.

For All the World to Know, Even With Life's Challenges: Gabriella Simon's Personal Smoking Cessation Story.
In August, the New Brunswick Anti-Tobacco Coalition found out about Gabriella Simon through Twitter, by searching for a new success story to feature this fall. "I forgot to say it's been one year since I quit smoking cigarettes!" she wrote in a tweet. Read more.

Smoke-Free Together Initiative Successful at Saint John Regional Hospital.
In September 2015, Horizon Health Network announced the introduction of its Smoke-Free Environment for the buildings and grounds of all of its hospitals. The Saint John Regional Hospital was the first hospital to implement the policy through an initiative called Smoke-Free Together. Read more.

You Have to Do It for Yourself! Sandra Melanson’s Personal Smoking Cessation Story.
Sandra Melanson started smoking when she was 15 years old. “From the very first inhale of tobacco smoke, I was hooked,” she recalls. “All my friends smoked back then; it was out of peer pressure that I started. We’d be smoking in the school yard and at the bus stop.” Read more.

Mike and Karen McGraw Share How Being Smoke-Free Has Positively Impacted Their Lives.
Earlier this year, the New Brunswick Anti-Tobacco Coalition (NBATC) held a Twitter contest inviting citizens to celebrate National Non-Smoking Week by posting photos of signs indicating smoke-free outdoor public spaces in their communities. Turns out that contest winner, Karen McGraw, of Oromocto, and her family, had a very personal story to share on how being smoke-free has positively impacted their lives. Read more

Bonar Law Memorial High School’s Teens Against Tobacco Use Club Uses Engaging Peer-Lead Outreach to Help Its Student Population Be Smoke-Free.
Bonar Law Memorial High School’s (Rexton, New Brunswick) It’s Quitting Time project has got its grade 9 through 12 Teens Against Tobacco Use Club members coming up with creative ways to get their peers to adopt healthy smoke-free lifestyles. Read more.

Harcourt School Empowers Its Young Students to Say No to Smoking and Second-Hand Smoke.
Kevin Scully is the principal at Harcourt School, a very small rural school in Kent County, New Brunswick with only 40 students from kindergarten through grade 5. Thanks to a Take Action Against Tobacco Use Grant offered by the New Brunswick Department of Social Development, Scully has been able to implement a tobacco-free living education initiative at his school that has empowered his young students to encourage their families to live healthier and tobacco-free lifestyles. Read more

Team NB Benefits from Healthy Tobacco-Free Policy at North American Indigenous Games.
Did you know that First Nations youth in New Brunswick are living healthy tobacco-free lifestyles thanks to sports and recreation? One of the best examples of tobacco-free sports programs and initiatives is the North American Indigenous Games’ zero tolerance policy when it comes to recreational tobacco, alcohol, and drug use. The coaches, athletes, and members from Team NB have reaped enormous benefits from following and ensuring compliance with this policy. Read more

"Smart Choices Centre" Is the Place to Be for Students at Caledonia Regional High School - Reinforcing Healthy Tobacco-Free Habits.
Like many rural schools, Caledonia Regional High School’s community has few entertainment options for its older students who are permitted to leave the school campus during lunchtime. Teacher Benjamin Kelly knew boredom and a lack of stimulating activities leads teenagers to make unhealthy choices. He thus came up with the idea of setting up a fun, safe and healthy space inside the school where the students would want to hang out during lunch hour instead of leaving the school’s grounds.  This room became the Smart Choices Centre. Read more. 

The Movement for Outdoor Smoke-free Spaces is growing in New Brunswick. All Vitalité Health Network’s Hospitals and Clinics Will Respect a Smoke-free Environment Policy on Their Properties.
Beginning in 2015, New Brunswick’s Health Networks have become leaders in the growing movement for developing more outdoor spaces free of second-hand smoke. Read more.


New Brunswick’s Anti-Tobacco Movement. With Modifications to its Smoke-free Places and Tobacco and Electronic Cigarette Sales Acts, Province Boasts Some of the Most Progressive Anti-Tobacco Laws in the Country.
Did you know that New Brunswick made significant gains in the fight against tobacco in 2015 when the government announced amendments to the Smoke-free Places Act and the Tobacco and Electronic Cigarette Sales Act? These changes propelled the province to the forefront as one of the most progressive jurisdictions when it comes to tobacco control policies. Read more. 

Horizon Health Network’s Smoke-Free Environment Policy: A Positive Change Moving New Brunswick Towards a Healthier Future. Saint John Regional Hospital First Property to Go Completely Smoke-Free.
Horizon Health Network marked World Heart Health Day on September 29th 2015 by launching its new smoke-free environment policy at the Saint John Regional Hospital. This momentous step demonstrates true leadership in health and wellness promotion, which will move New Brunswick towards a brighter and healthier smoke-free future. Read more

Smoker’s Helpline – Cessation Support Only A Click or Call Away.
Current research shows that about half of cancers can be prevented through healthy lifestyle choices and policies that protect the public. The single best thing a person can do to improve one’s health is to quit smoking. Take Karen Hodgin, of Riverview, for example. She smoked for 48 years, but thanks to Smokers’ Helpline, a free, confidential and non-judgmental service available to Canadians who want to quit tobacco use or need help staying smoke-free, and the support of family and friends, she has been smoke-free since 2013. Read more.

“Cigarettes Have No More Power Over Me!” Local Musician Dan Maloney Shares His Personal Struggle and Victory Over Nicotine.
Dan “the piano guy” Maloney’s talent has been impressing audiences since the age of 15.  An accomplished musician, this Saint John (New Brunswick) native has shared his joie de vivre and musical talent through shows in piano bars, nightclubs, conventions, trade shows, private parties and weddings with a mixture of classic hits, top star impersonations and comedy routines. Now at 57 years of age, Dan is set to inspire others with a catchy anthem about quitting smoking. The song has a universal appeal, yet is profoundly personal, for his proudest accomplishment to date is his victory over his nicotine addiction, which had for far too long affected his health and well-being. Read more

Riverview Pharmacy Playing Key Role in Promoting Healthy Smoke-Free Lifestyles.
For the Jean Coutu Pharmacy on Coverdale Road in Riverview (New Brunswick), customer service goes beyond offering and dispensing medication. The pharmacy’s staff is involved in various community outreach and well-being initiatives, such as free counseling services, health assessments, a walking club, and various clinics aimed at helping customers better manage their health. One of the most popular among these health and wellbeing initiatives is the pharmacy’s lung testing clinic, held once per month. This free clinic (by appointment) offers customers the chance to take a breathing test that screens for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - a progressive lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe. Read more.

Défi Qui Cesse Gagne! (Biggest Quitter Challenge) Personal Commitments Towards Tobacco-Free Living.
For many people, quitting smoking can be one of the biggest challenges to overcome. It is a challenge that is often made easier with the support and encouragement of others. Often, the act of sharing a personal goal, like quitting smoking, with an attentive ear, getting the right resources and knowing that someone supports you and will follow up to encourage you along your journey are what you need to begin leading a healthier lifestyle. That’s the idea behind the défi "Qui Cesse Gagne!" (Biggest Quitter Challenge), which took place on January 29, 2015, and invited all residents in the Acadian Peninsula to commit to a healthier smoke-free lifestyle. Read more.

"Break It Off" Campaign Comes to New Brunswick! Students Embrace Newfound Savings By Dumping their Cigarettes.
What do you get when you mix a few young, outgoing and high energy smoking cessation ambassadors on a cross-Canada tour with an eye-catching truck from which young people can tell the world, via the power of social media, what they will do with the money they save by not smoking? You get Canada’s Biggest Break Up Tour, an innovative and highly engaging campaign led by Health Canada aimed at getting young people to Break It Off with their cigarettes or, for non-smokers, commit to remaining smoke-free. Read more.

The Town of Hampton Shows It Is a Tobacco-Free Living Champion With Its New Outdoor Smoke-Free Policy.
In December 2014, the Town of Hampton showed tobacco-free living leadership by implementing a policy restricting the use of tobacco on all town-owned property, including parks, trails and outdoor spaces around the Hampton Community Centre. Deputy Mayor Robert Doucet says he was first concerned about his community’s smoking habits when the town started receiving citizens’ complaints about people smoking on the playgrounds. Another common place smokers were often seen was just outside the ice rink’s doors – where of course many kids come in and out. Read more.

In the Acadian Peninsula, Smokers Are Learning to Run and Breathe In Fresh Air - Tobacco-Free!
Brigitte Ouellette is a Respiratory Therapist and Certified Respiratory Educator at the Vitalité Health Network. As a member of the Acadian Peninsula’s Anti-Tobacco Coalition, she and her colleagues are always looking for interesting initiatives that can reach smokers and give them tools to live a healthier tobacco-free lifestyle. One of the coalition’s newest program – Learn to Run for Smokers – is an innovative answer to this dilemma. The program was first launched by the Lung Association of Nova Scotia and caught the coalition’s eye. Read more

Quitting Smoking: A Race Towards Health and Wellness. Robert Roy-Boudreau's Smoking Cessation Journey.
Robert Roy-Boudreau attributes training for a marathon with helping him to quit smoking, with the end result being the ability to fully live and celebrate life. His race began over a year ago and he’s been sharing his story ever since in order to encourage smokers and ex-smokers to live tobacco-free. Read more

Many New Brunswick Communities Want to Organize Smoke-Free Outdoor Events.
For many New Brunswickers, getting out and enjoying nature does not include the idea of second-hand cigarette smoke. Perhaps this was no more evident than in the recent in motion Parks & Trails Day held every year in June – a province-wide event promoting healthy, active living in our communities while celebrating the many incredible outdoor spaces in our beautiful province. This past summer’s celebration saw a record number of 47 events throughout the province, 44 of which were smoke-free. Read more

2014 in motion Parks & Trails Day in New Brunswick: Smoke-Free Green Spaces!
The in motion Parks & Trails Day on June 1st is an annual province-wide event promoting healthy, active living in our communities while celebrating the many incredible outdoor spaces in our beautiful province. Led by communities, wellness networks, school leaders and volunteers, it is an opportunity for New Brunswickers to get active by taking to their favourite trails, parks, paths and waterways. Held for the first time in 2013, the success of in motion Parks & Trails Day continues to grow. This year’s celebration saw a record number of 47 events throughout the province, 44 of which were smoke-free. Read more


Teens Against Tobacco Use - Eleanor Graham Middle School.

The Eleanor W. Graham Middle School now has Teens against Tobacco Use (TATU) club. Formed in April, 2012 this is the club's second year of work that focuses on bringing awareness and education to the school population and parents on the dangers of smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke. Read more. 

Teens Against Tobacco Use- Oromocto High School.
For more than 10 years, Oromocto High School's Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU) has been promoting anti-smoking and providing education and awareness of its effects.Each year TATU members apply a wide range of interventions and strategies during the school year, including fall presentations to Grade 9 students on the effects of tobacco. The teens also reach out to local middle schools in the spring to give Grade 7 students information on tobacco use. The goal of these presentations is to get students to work with younger students before they start smoking. This is a great example of how the group uses a population health framework to help decrease tobacco use by increasing upstream investments - in other words, getting an early start on influencing healthy behaviors. Read more

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