Reduce substances such as alcohol and tobacco

First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you." - F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby 

“Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.”  - Mark Twain 


Avoidance of risky substances is perhaps the most obvious part of a healthy lifestyle.  All of us live in an environment full of possible harmful toxins.  It is important to acknowledge and talk about the harm that is caused by alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and other toxic substances, including the pollution in our environment, household chemicals and bad quality water.


Risky substances affect us all  

There are many people who themselves have experienced, or know of friends or relatives who have experienced addiction to a substance such as alcohol, tobacco or drugs.  Even those who are fortunate enough not to be living with an addiction need to recognise that even small amount of these substances could be toxic.  In addition to those that we voluntarily ingest, we all are exposed to environmental toxins, which often are not under our direct control.  People should be aware of the harmful influence of these toxins and substances on our health and longevity.  Avoiding toxic and risky substances is one of the pillars of lifestyle medicine.


How can lifestyle medicine help? 

A lifestyle medicine practitioner will look into a person’s habits, and the environment of where they live, then start working on development of lifestyle medicine recommendations.  Unfortunately, it is not always easy to avoid toxic substances, move to another cleaner area, change jobs or give up smoking and drinking.  Avoiding risky substances is important and lifestyle medicine practitioners will work with you to help manage your health issues to improve your health in the most optimal way.

Many different potential toxins are considered.

When we think about risky substances, we perhaps automatically think of cigarettes and alcohol.  However, lifestyle medicine looks at a wide range of potential toxins for various sources:

  • Alcohol

  • Tobacco

  • Illicit drug use

  • environmental toxins


Create an individual plan of action.

Lifestyle medicine recommendations will be tailored to your needs and developed with you to implement a personal health improvement plan.  

If you or someone you know is struggling with any substance addiction, please reach out to your medical provider, lifestyle medicine professional or the national helplines.  



Physical Activity


Stress Management

Healthy Relationships

Avoiding Risky Substances

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