TORONTO - A new analysis from Statistics Canada looks at the one in five people who smoke in this country, and their attempts to butt out.

The study released Wednesday used 2006 data, and found that almost half of smokers had tried to quit in the previous year, and one-third reported intentions to quit in the next month.

Of those who tried to quit, 48 per cent had used at least one pharmaceutical aid. One-third used a nicotine patch, 22 per cent used nicotine gum and 13 per cent used other pharmaceutical-based aids in their attempt to stop smoking.

Margot Shields, one of the study authors, says this is important to note because previous research has found that smokers who use a formal cessation aid are less likely to relapse compared to those who try to quit on their own.

Three-quarters of current smokers had seen a doctor in the previous year, and half of those said a doctor had advised them to reduce or quit smoking.

Rob Cunningham of the Canadian Cancer Society says physician counselling can help people to quit smoking, and all doctors need to be advising their patients who smoke to quit.

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