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Cooking to Quit classes starts in February in P.E.I.

Gina Burke, program administrator, Canadian Cancer Society, holds a Quit Kit that will be given out to participants in the Cooking to Quit program, which will be launched next month by the Canadian Cancer Society.
Gina Burke, program administrator, Canadian Cancer Society, holds a Quit Kit that will be given out to participants in the Cooking to Quit program, which will be launched next month by the Canadian Cancer Society. - Contributed

Classes offer tasty, healthy alternatives to smoking

Many people who smoke are looking for a way to quit.

A new program from the Canadian Cancer Society aims to help people replace their bad habit with some healthy habits.

The Cooking to Quit program, launching February in Stratford and Summerside, provides smokers with training in cooking and nutrition as a way to ease the discomfort of leaving nicotine behind.

It’s a tobacco cessation-focused program, says Jayna Stokes, provincial lead for the Canadian Cancer Society.

“Cooking to Quit is for anyone who has recently quit smoking or who is looking to quit smoking,” says Stokes.

“One thing that a lot of people who are looking at quitting smoking are worried about is gaining weight as a result. They worry about eating more as a way of dealing with cravings. What we hope to do with the Cooking to Quit is to teach people some basic skills they can use in the kitchen and to give them some skills on buying and preparing nutritious and affordable meals.”

Supported with a Wellness Grant from the P.E.I. Department of Health and Wellness, the Cooking to Quit program is being offered in conjunction with dietitians from the local Sobeys grocery stores. Sessions will include an introduction to some of the seasonings and spices available at the grocery – something Stokes says is often of particular interest to individuals whose sense of taste is improving.

Certified tobacco educators will also be part of the program, providing guidance and support to people quitting smoking. Participants will be offered a quit kit to assist with the process.

Organizers also hope to have the group members come together as a walking group on another night of the week.

“We’re offering people a chance to learn a bit about cooking and nutrition and it’s a way to think about healthy behaviours that they could adopt instead of smoking. It’s not about exotic foods or high-cost foods. It’s about using our basics and making healthy choices.”

Sessions will be offered in Stratford, Feb. 4, 11 and 25 and March 4 and in Summerside, Feb. 15 and 22 and March 1 and 8.

Stokes encouraged smokers and ex-smokers to contact the Canadian Cancer Society to register for the Cooking to Quit program.

“You don’t have to come alone, bring peer support. This is something you can do together, come on out.

“No one is ever pointing a finger at you because you’re smoking. No one’s journey is straightforward, but this is one way we can try to help and get you on the right track,” says Stokes.

For more information contact Stokes at 902-566-1713 ext. 2231 or jstokes@pei.cancer.ca.

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