New smoking prevention app launched to help northern youth

By Shane O'Neill
October 22, 2016 - 4:00pm

There’s a new tool in the fight against smoking in northern communities.

On Friday, Oct. 21, representatives from the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority (NITHA) held a luncheon and workshop at the Prince Albert Travelodge on the dangers of smoking for youth from communities across the north and to promote their new “Breathe Easy Smoking Cessation” mobile app.

Justina Ndubuka, NITHA's tobacco project coordinator, said they have to act quickly to keep youth from taking up the habit.

“We have high smoking rates in our communities,” she said. “We found out that the age of initiation of smoking is as low as nine-years-old, so we want the kids to stop smoking.”

Select students took part in workshops on the health impacts of smoking, heard motivational speeches from elders in the communities, enjoyed traditional drumming, discussed the spiritual uses of tobacco and learned strategies to quit smoking and kick addiction to nicotine.

It was also an opportunity to debut NITHA’s new mobile app, which can help in the fight against smoking.

“Smoking is an addiction, it’s very difficult to quit,” Ndubuka explained. “But with our new app, we hope it will help them to quit smoking.”

The app combines information on the traditional cultural uses of tobacco with the risks of smoking to educate users from taking up the habit. It also pairs tips and methods for quitting with a fitness and health tracker to help guide users on their path to kicking the habit.

The app is free in iTunes and Android app stores.

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On Twitter: @stroneill

 

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