Pfizer Canada Inc.

Pfizer Canada Inc.

December 02, 2008 07:00 ET

Countdown to Quit!

With New Year's Eve around the corner, smokers planning to quit should get ready NOW

KIRKLAND, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Dec. 2, 2008) -

Editors Note: A photo is included with this press release.

New Year's resolutions involve commitments to make positive changes, whether it's to sort out money matters, enjoy life more or finally get in shape before swimsuit season. For many Canadian smokers, quitting permanently would be one of their greatest accomplishments in life, but successful quitting requires a plan.(1) Getting ready before New Year's will ensure the greatest chance for success from January 1st onward.

An important part of successfully becoming smoke-free is to understand that smoking is a nicotine addiction and not a matter of choice.(2) According to a recent Leger Marketing survey commissioned by Pfizer Canada, 50 per cent of smokers stated the main reason why they started smoking is because of peer pressure.(1) However, studies have shown that nicotine addiction can be as hard to break as heroin or cocaine addiction because it involves both a physical and psychological component.(3) A White Paper entitled "Tobacco Addiction: What do we know, and where do we go?" has been developed by Dr. Charl Els, psychiatrist who specializes in addiction at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton, to provide greater understanding of the quitting experience, and why people fail in their attempts to quit smoking. It also explores the idea of looking at one's journey to quit smoking as a process rather than an event.

"Many smokers think of quitting as a singular point in time, but, like overcoming any addiction, it is actually a process with many stages," explains Dr. Els. "The good news is that tobacco addiction is considered highly treatable. With the proper support in place to address both the physical and psychological dependence, smokers can stay smoke free."

In addition, the White Paper provides greater understanding of 'addiction.' A recognized definition of addiction suggests that it is a chronic, relapsing brain disorder resulting from prolonged effects of a drug on the brain or as repeated failures to refrain from drug use despite prior resolutions to do so.(4) But what does that actually mean for an individual?

"When we hear alcoholics continue to define themselves as such, even after years of sobriety, it speaks to the chronic nature of addiction. Yes, addiction to any substance can be overcome and controlled, but it takes a dedicated person with a plan. And even then, there may be periods of relapse when a person slips but a slip does not have to be forever," further explains Dr. Els. "Failing to recognize the true nature of addiction as a medical condition rather than simply a personal choice has likely perpetuated the smoking epidemic. Canadians must begin to recognize this in order for smoking addiction to be successfully treated and overcome."

Setting up the right quit plan

To help Canadians quit smoking once and for all, a new interactive online platform called Countdown to Quit has been developed. Its goal is to provide tools and guidance for those contemplating to quit or at the beginning stages of the quitting process. This new resource is now available as part of the It's Canada's Time to Quit website at

"People thinking about quitting smoking should involve their physician. Many times, when smokers finally come to me, they have already tried quitting on their own," explains Dr. Lew Pliamm, Founder and Medical Director of The Quit Clinic Inc. "Quitting smoking is incredibly difficult and the process will include both successes and set-backs. That is absolutely normal. But it is a process that a physician can help with so that people are in the best possible position to manage the withdrawal and access the support they need."

Specifically, Countdown to Quit allows an individual to sign up and login for the program and track their progress as they start their smoking cessation journey. It also provides motivation in the time leading up to their personalized quit date by providing weekly emails to inspire and prepare Canadians to quit, and progress trackers through the smoking cessation journey. There are contact details for support lines as well as up-to-date statistics and information about smoking and the benefits of quitting. This resource provides smokers with tips and tools to support them in planning to overcome their addiction by providing useful steps to set themselves up for success.

Smoking in Canada

- Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide(5) with tobacco killing more than 37,000 Canadians a year.(6)

- Smoking has multi-systemic consequences affecting the entire body(7) and is the single most important preventable cause of lung cancer, contributing to 85 per cent of all new cases in Canada.(8)

- Smoking increases a person's risk of developing heart disease and stroke by contributing to build up of plaque in arteries, increased risk of blood clots, increased blood pressure and reduced oxygen in the blood.(9)

- The respiratory symptoms associated with smoking include coughing, phlegm, wheezing and difficulty breathing, and can lead to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) over time.(10)

- Second hand smoke is also dangerous as it releases the same chemicals, approximately 4,000 in total, as smoke that is inhaled directly.(11)

-- Almost 8,000 non-smokers die each year from exposure to second-hand smoke.(12)

About Pfizer Canada

Pfizer Inc. is the world's leading pharmaceutical company. Pfizer invests more than $7 billion annually to discover and develop life-saving and life-enhancing medications for humans and animals. The company's Canadian operation, Pfizer Canada Inc., is one of the largest private contributors to health research in Canada and also donates more than $20 million annually to support community initiatives like the Starlight Children's Foundation. Headquartered in Kirkland, Quebec, Pfizer Canada and its cross-Canada team of 1,200 employees are working together for a healthier world. Pfizer Canada's commitment to helping Canadians live happier, healthier and longer lives extends beyond medication. To learn more about Pfizer Canada's more than medication philosophy and programs, visit

To view a copy of the White Paper entitled "Tobacco Addiction: What do we know, and where do we go?" by Dr. Charl Els, click here.

ANR Download:

The audio clips and scripts are available for immediate use under the New Releases category in the RADIO section at:

To access the Countdown to Quit microsite, click on the following links

To view screenshots of the Countdown to Quit microsite, click on the links below

Screenshot 1 - Countdown to Quit homepage

Screenshot 2 - Countdown to Quit 'My savings' page

To view smoking related images, click on the links below

Image 1 - No smoking sign

Image 2 - Man struggling with nicotine addiction

To view a backgrounder on Nicotine and Smoking, click here

To view a backgrounder on Smoking in Canada, click here

To access more information about CHAMPIX including: photos, research, backgrounders and ANR please visit the CHAMPIX Media Room

username: media

login: champixCA


(1) Leger Marketing Research Series on Smoking Behaviour. Completed with smokers, non-smokers and ex-smokers in 2006-2008, sponsored by Pfizer Canada Inc.

(2) Nicotine Addiction in Britain (2000). Royal College of Physicians, London. Accessed November 2008.

(3) Guide to Quit Smoking. American Cancer Society. Accessed November 2008.

(4) Tobacco Addiction: What do we know, and where do we go?". White Paper developed by Dr. Charl Els, psychiatrist and addictionologist at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton. Page 2.

(5) The Facts About Smoking and Health. World Health Organization. Accessed November 2008.

(6) Overview of Health Risks of Smoking. Health Canada. Accessed November 2008.

(7) Written Pleadings Filed by the Attorney General of Canada with the Quebec Superior Court. Health Canada. Accessed November 2008.

(8) Smoking and Your Body. Health Canada. Accessed November 2008.

(9) Smoking, Heart Disease and Stroke. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Accessed November 2008.

(10) Smoking and Your Body. Health Canada. Accessed November 2008.

(11) Second-hand Smoke is Dangerous. Canadian Cancer Society.,3182,3172_13127__langId-en,00.html. Accessed November 2008.

(12) Smoking, Heart Disease and Stroke. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Accessed November 2008.

Contact Information