Episode 10: Double Digest with Heart & Stroke


World Anti-Tobacco Day 

Christine Roherty is the Vice President of Health Promotion for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of New Brunswick.  Her job is to ensure the Foundation has mission impact within our programs, projects and special events for all New Brunswickers. They collaborate with other like-minded government and non-government stakeholders on many risk factors related to cardiovascular disease (Heart Disease and Stroke). Tobacco free is one of these risk factors.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of New Brunswick is a not for profit health charity whose mission is to “Prevent Disease, Save Lives and Promote Recovery” for heart disease and stroke.

Their Foundation is made up of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to improve and advocate for the improved cardiovascular health of the people here in New Brunswick.

NB has the highest rate of school participants in the Jump Rope for Heart program in all of Canada!

Tobacco use is one risk factor that increases a person risk for heart disease and stroke.

In fact it’s the number one risk factor for Heart Disease, meaning that no other risk factor impacts a person risk more than tobacco use. It is also a major risk factor in stroke, second only to hypertension. When a person smokes, they are 3 times more likely to have a stroke or die from of heart disease.

1 in every 4 New Brunswickers, 25%, die of Heart Disease and Stroke each year. Unfortunately New Brunswickers are more likely to die from heart disease and stroke than many other chronic illnesses. In women, it is the number one cause of death. It is also important to know that 80% of your risk is preventable by living a healthy lifestyle that includes being Tobacco Free.

Campaign released recently called Time to see Red around promoting awareness of heart disease in women.

HSFNB has a very active Health Promotion department that is working hard to promote all risk factors for heart disease and stroke. In their tobacco pillar, they have contributed to advocacy efforts with other NGO health charities to ensure tobacco free spaces in New Brunswick and increased taxations for tobacco products. In 2016 HSFNB made a commitment to ensure all of their events and programs not only supported but also promoted their tobacco free nature through the adoption of an internal policy where signage is displayed at all events.

They have also worked to support tobacco free workspaces and campuses in New Brunswick.

They collaborate with other like-minded stakeholders on the New Brunswick Anti-Tobacco Coalition.

And they are just now getting ready to launch their Heart Smart Kids program in Indigenous communities across Canada.  This program includes a tobacco prevention curriculum education resource for elementary school children. Teachers who have Indigenous students in their classrooms can register online for free training and resources.

Kristin Farnam is the coordinator for the New Brunswick Anti-Tobacco Coalition. Her role within the coalition is to support the efforts of their steering committee members, partners and working groups who have a stake in tobacco control issues. The coalition is very active in tobacco education, prevention and control as well as the promotion of cessation support networks. She has been in health care for over 20 years as a nurse. The coalition also helps to ensure that all the great work being done around the province on the tobacco issue is known to the public and that the NBATC can be seen as a useful resource for New Brunswickers who are interested in learning more about tobacco-free living.

The NBATC is a coalition which means they bring together members and colleagues who have an interest in the tobacco issue. They are made up of government and non-government members that have all have a stake in tobacco control. Their goal is to promote tobacco-free living in order to create environments that are supportive of wellness.

Tobacco use contributes to the development of all major chronic diseases and remains the number one cause of preventable death and disease- killing approximately 1100 New Brunswickers annually. Choosing not to smoke or quitting smoking not only protects you from the dangers of tobacco but it also protects those around you. There are at least 70 known chemicals that cause, initiate or promote cancer from second-hand tobacco smoke alone. Second-hand smoke has also been known to cause heart disease, emphysema and asthma. So living tobacco-free ensures healthier smoke-free spaces for all including our children who deserve the right to grow up in a smoke-free and healthy environment.

Some things that New Brunswickers can do to support tobacco-free living in their own communities:
• Start by insisting people do not smoke in your home. This will keep your personal environment healthy and Kristin would encourage people to learn about the dangers of second-hand and third-hand smoke (The smoke that gets in your hair, your clothing, your drapes, carpet, and can still affect your health negatively).

  • Become familiar with the Smoke-Free Places Act. This particular legislation prohibits smoking cigarettes as well as vaping electronic cigarettes and the use of water pipes in all enclosed public places, indoor workplaces, parks, and school grounds, as well as in vehicles when a person under the age of 16 is present. Since September 15, 2017 peace officers and inspectors are able to issue tickets to individuals who smoke in public places where smoking is banned by the Smoke-Free Places Act. There is a toll free number you can call 1-866-234-4234 to report violators and obtain additional information on this legislation. All this information is available on the NBATC website.
  • If you are planning an event, Kristin suggests you make it smoke-free. The NBATC has information on their website that includes a toolkit called, “Making My Outdoor Event Smoke-free” that includes signage and social media messaging that you can download and use at your event.
  • And finally if you are interested in starting a program that educates people on tobacco the Department of Social Development’s wellness branch offers $5000 grants to support such initiatives. They are called TATU grants which means Take Action Against Tobacco Use and go to our website for more information as well as the stories behind many past recipients of these grants.

If you want help to quit smoking, Kristin would highly recommend you contact the Smoker’s Helpline which is a free, confidential service operated by the Canadian Cancer Society offering support and information for those looking to quit smoking. I should add that bilingual services are offered by phone at 1-877-513-5333 and online at www.smokershelpline.ca

You can also check with the Horizon or Vitalité networks to learn about the smoking cessation clinics and resources they offer. And finally, there is a list of additional resources related to quitting smoking on the New Brunswick Anti-Tobacco Coalition’s website at www.nbatc.ca

Favourite places: Christine: St. Martins; Kristin: St. Andrews

Favourite foods: Christine: Local strawberries picked on the Kingston Peninsula; Kristin: NB Seafood

Favourite activity: Christine: Hiking on the Fundy Trail; Kristin: Taking advantage of the network of biking trails in the Moncton area

www.heartandstroke.ca, #TimeToSeeRed


Smoker’s Help Line: 1-877-513-5333 www.smokershelpline.ca

Shediac giant lobster statue: https://www.tourismnewbrunswick.ca/Products/T/The-Worlds-Largest-Lobster.aspx

World’s largest axe: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/world-s-largest-axe