She says a cigarette holds about 12 minutes of smoke, but a smoker will only inhale 30 seconds of that. The rest lingers at the end of the cigarette. This second-hand smoke contains 4,000 chemicals that swirl in the atmosphere and contribute to diseases including cancer, asthma, heart disease and emphysema.

The smoking rate in Nova Scotia is 20 per cent, slightly higher than the national average of 18 per cent.

“The biggest challenge is that tobacco use is an addiction,” says Meg. “Because it [smoking] is so prevalent, people discount it as an addiction, and it’s a tough, tough addiction to break.” Within seven seconds of inhaling, nicotine hits your brain and triggers the pleasure centers.

It is not easy to stop smoking but it is possible. If you are not sure where to begin, talking to your doctor is a good first step.

Stop smoking services in Capital district

A free stop smoking program is offered by the Capital District Health Authority. It is open to anyone in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM).