Health officials in Timmins say the smoking rate in the city is eight percent higher than the rest of the province and a local public health nurse says people wanting to quit should get going on it.  

Stephanie Gravel meets with people of all ages at the Porcupine Health Unit and she says the main reasons smokers want to ditch nicotine are either because of a health scare or they want to save money.

She says nicotine replacement therapies have proven effective, as have some prescription medications, but she says the important thing is to pick a date to begin.

"Any day works. Sometimes we're not ready to do either a birthday or New Year's resolution or anything like that, but definitely try to pick a day that works for you. Usually, we say something within thirty days, just so you notice that the commitment is still important, but that it doesn't lose any value." said Gravel.

Dr. Peter Selby of Canada’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health agrees and offers some follow-up steps.

"The first step is to make it a conscience act, so start writing it down, every cigarette. Make it a conscience decision and make your home, work and vehicle smoke-free.  Automatically, you start realizing that not every cigarette is necessary." said Selby.

Timmins high school student, Thomas Hopkins, realizes it’s not a good habit.

"Well, smoking, I don't know, it just feels like you breathe harder and all that. It's not really good for the health." said Hopkins.

He says he might quit next week.

The Health Unit does not provide smoking cessation services to youth unless they've been referred by a doctor, however, the province recently announced it will provide free counselling from a pharmacist and medication through OHIP for people under 24, who want to quit smoking.