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Learn About Tobacco

Humans have been using tobacco for many years for a variety of reasons. For some, tobacco has played an important role in ceremonies and served to mark special occasions such as the birth of a baby. For others, it has been used to increase alertness or to relax and connect with friends and acquaintances at social gatherings. But like other psychoactive substances, tobacco can be harmful.


Tobacco is a plant that contains nicotine, a drug that speeds up activity in our central nervous system but has relaxing effects too. Tobacco is available in many forms, including cigarettes, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, and snuff or snus (a powder that is sniffed or put between the lower lip or cheek and gums). Nicotine also is available in non-tobacco products, including gum, patches and other smoking cessation aids.


Treatments: What Works?

It seems like everyone has an opinion when it comes to treatments for mental health or substance use problems. To add to the confusion, it isn’t always obvious who is basing their opinions on real evidence and who is not. And while we often hear people talk about evidence-based treatments, it’s also clear that complementary and alternative medicine approaches are helpful for some.


When we talk about mental illnesses and substance use problems, it’s easy to talk in clinical terms: that person has this symptom, or that person uses a certain drug. But recovery is so much bigger than a checklist.

Quittin' Time

In October 2007, the BC Public Service Agency launched Quittin’ Time, a five-month smoking cessation pilot program. This program is now available to approximately 35,000 employees working for the government of British Columbia. The goal of the program is to support employees and their family members in their efforts to quit smoking.

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