04/08/2016 03:04 EDT | Updated 04/09/2017 05:12 EDT

How Smokers Can Run To Quit

Ivanko_Brnjakovic via Getty Images
Man tying jogging shoes.A person running outdoors on a sunny day. The person is wearing black running shoes.Focus on a side view of two human hands reaching down to a athletic shoe.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, smoking causes about 85 per cent of lung cancer cases in Canada and smokers shorten their lives by eight to 10 years on average. Julia Hayos, Special Projects Lead with the Canadian Cancer Society talks about the overview of the Run to Quit program. The Run to Quit program is a 10-week course for smokers to take up running or walking as a way to help break the habit.

Here is our Q&A:

Q: What is your role with the Run to Quit program?

A: My role, together with our partners and stakeholders across the province, is to help raise awareness about Run to Quit so that people in Canada looking for support in quitting smoking can access the program if they choose.

Q: What is the RTQ program?

A: Run to Quit is a new innovative 10-week program offered by the Canadian Cancer Society, the Running Room and the Public Health Agency of Canada to help people quit smoking by taking up walking or running. Run to Quit offers people a way to quit for good by integrating physical activity as well as peer support, encouragement and coaching every step of the way. As well as enjoying a healthier lifestyle, Run to Quit participants have additional incentive with chances to win cash prizes and a new vehicle valued at $25,000.

Q: How do people register?

A: You can register on our website at until April 23, when the program starts. Run to Quit offers three opportunities to help people stop smoking and become healthier: Running Room in-store clinics; on-line clinics; and Commit to Quit incentive challenge. In-store Run to Quit community training programs will be held from April to June at Running Room locations across Canada. People can also join the Commit to Quit stream where they work on going smoke-free for 10 weeks and participate in a 5 km walk or run at the end of this period.

Q: What has the feedback been like?

A: Run to Quit builds on the success of a pilot project in Ottawa which found that integrating smoking cessation, peer support and a healthy lifestyle makes an individual seven times more likely to quit for good.

Q: Why do we need this program?

A: While the majority of British Columbians do not smoke, more than 563,000 - 14 per cent of the population in B.C. - still do. Lung cancer continues to be the leading cause of cancer death in the (country). We know that quitting smoking and adopting a healthy lifestyle are proven ways to reduce an individual's cancer risk.

Q: What is the Canadian Cancer Society, Running Room and Public Health Agency of Canada's goal for this year?

A: The goals for the Run to Quit program are to support individuals who smoke in trying to quit, to help them to increase their physical activity levels and to raise awareness about the smoking cessation services that exist across Canada to help people quit..

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