By Logan Somers 
BELLEVILLE – People trying to quit smoking is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. However, it’s also one of the most common to fail. The Health unit says they’re here to help, and are focusing on a specific group of smokers.
David Patterson, public health promoter at Hastings and Prince Edward Health Unit, said contests have been started to try and help motivate young people to quit smoking.
“Our public health unit is sourcing a Quit and Win contest. So, there are a couple of categories. (There is ) one quit vaping and two quit smoking categories, and you can win a $250 gift card,” he said.
You can now begin signing up for the contest. It will take place between Jan 20 and Feb 3. Anyone interested in participating will need to sign up by Jan 20 on the Hastings And Prince Edward Counties Health Unit’s website . The website is also where you can find all information like dates, times and criteria to sign up.
Patterson added that provincially there are larger contests, like the Break it Off  contest, being held to help people quit smoking. Some contests have prizes up to $1000 up for grabs.
Break it Off not only has contests but also an app  that Patterson said he would recommend people to use who want to quit. The app keeps track of your progress while giving you tips along the way, and allows you to win “in app” trophies to celebrate your progression.
Patterson said that studies show younger people are more likely to try and quit smoking on their own, resulting in many not coming to the clinics for guidance and motivation to quit. Health units are making other avenues to try and help keep the ones quitting on their own motivated.
Overall, Hastings And Prince Edward Counties Health Unit  has seen an increase in people calling in asking for help to break their smoking habits after the New Year.
“Every Wednesday morning from 9 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. we have a drop-in clinic where people can come see one of four quit smoking coaches, and we offer low cost nicotine replacement products,” Patterson said.
The health unit offers guidance to anyone looking to quit smoking. This includes but is not limited to counseling, and offering low cost nicotine replacement products such as patches and nicotine gum.
Patterson said it’s common for the number of people wanting to quit to rise in the New Year. He said they have increased their presence on social media by putting out more advertisements to try and connect with people who may need help quitting.
To anyone who sees quitting smoking as a daunting task and feels disheartened by it, Patterson says it is part of the process.
“There’s some people who quit on their first shot and that’s great, but most times people need to try to quit multiple times. So, you know slipping up is just part of the quitting process it doesn’t mean necessarily you’re back to zero,” he said.
Vaping is often closely connected to smoking, but Patterson said they haven’t seen many people asking for help to quit. One reason for this is because of the lack of information on how to help people quit vaping he said. As of right now much of the health unit’s time being spent on vaping is going to schools to inform students of the risks.