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Trying to quit smoking during lockdown? Just Kick the Butt

Everyone would have watched those funny Facebook videos by now of the aunties explaining how they're surviving the lockdown, from smoking their cigarettes down to the "stompie" or relying on the generosity of "friends" by buying a loose cigarette for R10. It's funny because it's true.

If you're a smoker, you can relate. And by now if you're down to your last box, you're probably looking at those teabags in a different light. Whatever you do, don't smoke the tea leaves.

Maybe you should consider just kicking the habit for once and for all. With the government's ban on the sale of cigarettes under lockdown, there's no telling when it will end.

But you don't have to go at it alone. The Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) has launched an online smoking cessation programme called Kick Butt.

According to the association, 70 percent of smokers do not make an attempt to quit because of the fear of failure. Making the decision to quit is an achievement in itself. Successful quitting is a matter of planning and commitment.

“For the next three months, persons enrolled in the programme can expect an email of encouragement on a weekly basis to encourage them and provide them with guidelines and practical advice for the week ahead,” said the association.

Cansa’s own statistics show that tobacco-related diseases kill over 44 000 South Africans and 5.4 million people worldwide annually, making tobacco use one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced.

Lung cancer, which is mostly caused by smoking, is the second most common cancer contracted in South African men, with one in 59 men diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime.

Nicotine vaping causes lung cancer in mice, study finds

A recent study by New York University has found a pattern of lung cancer in mice exposed to e-cigarette vapor.

Meanwhile, the Tobacco, Alcohol and Gambling Advocacy Action Group says that the ban might be a blessing in disguise for many smokers.

“Around the world it’s been promoted as Q&Q – quit in quarantine – and seen as an opportunity because cold turkey is by and large the best way to quit smoking. Of course, there is a little bit of drama, there is a little bit of trauma,” said the group.

To enroll in the Kick Butt programme simply visit

You have the option to unsubscribe at any time. Support is available online by just activating your e-mail series and you will receive instructions and a link. Any queries regarding the programme may be directed to the toll free call centre at 0800 22 66 22 or

Originally appeared at

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