Our People in Profile: Community outreach worker Lesley Dairou urges smokers to ‘never quit quitting’

Lesley Dairou is a community outreach worker in Cape Breton who teaches people the proper tools to successfully go smoke-free.
Lesley Dairou is a community outreach worker in Cape Breton who teaches people the proper tools to successfully go smoke-free.

“Smoking is an addiction.”

This is a fact that Lesley Dairou, a community outreach worker in Cape Breton, works tirelessly to educate people about.

“A lot of people think that it’s a habit; but it’s not,” Dairou clarifies day in and day out.

Dairou, who works out of addiction services in Sydney, spends her days supporting adults who are battling this addiction. Her six-week psycho-educational group helps those wanting to make the transition to a smoke-free lifestyle.

With discussions centered on stress management, healthy lifestyle changes, goal setting and the personal benefits of stopping, the group is a helpful resource for many.

“We know that there are still people out there struggling,” Dairou said.

For the 14 years that she has been involved in the program, it has been constantly busy.

“It feels great to help clients who are in need of help,” she said. “They want to quit and are so agreeable to work with.”

As for why the program has proven to be so popular, Dairou said, “I think they come for the camaraderie and the support from other people that understand.”

That support and empathy are key elements in making the successful transition to a smoke-free lifestyle.

Although for most, that lifestyle doesn’t come on the first try, Dairou said.

“I think people are surprised when they realize what they’re grappling with,” she said. “Then they hopefully start to understand why they’ve tried 20 or 30 times before and haven’t been able to do it.”

“People often feel pretty deflated because they can’t seem to get a handle on it,” she added. “The fact is that it is legal and, for some people, the health consequences don’t catch up with them until later in life.”

In those moments, it’s important to “never quit quitting,” Dairou said. “Eventually it will stick as long as you keep trying. The sooner you can get back on track after a relapse, the easier it is.”

Looking for more information about putting a stop to your smoking? Talk to your local health care provider or call 8-1-1.