Dads in Gear program kicks off in Kelowna, Abbotsford and Nanaimo

UBC project enables dads to reduce and quit smoking

Joan Bottorff

School of Nursing Professor Joan Bottorff

Becoming a father is a significant transition period in a man’s life. And for many men, it is the ideal time to quit smoking.

Prof. Joan Bottorff of UBC’s School of Nursing and her team have received an Innovation Grant from the Canadian Cancer Society for $200,000 to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of a novel program, Dads in Gear (DIG). DIG is an eight-week face-to-face group program which focuses on the integration of quitting smoking, fathering and healthy living.

“Supporting new fathers to quit smoking is a game changer,” says Bottorff, director of the Institute for Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention. “By becoming smoke-free, young fathers will not only reduce their own risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, but can also support their partner’s efforts to quit, and provide a smoke-free home for their children.”

As the first-ever program to focus on new fathers who smoke, Dads in Gear has great potential for reducing the risk of cancer among adult men. Two in five Canadians are expected to develop cancer in their lifetimes, and smoking is the single greatest avoidable risk factor.

“Smoking is still the leading preventable cause of disease and death in Canada and tobacco is the only legal product that kills one out of every two people when used as intended,” says Sandra Krueckl, vice president, Cancer Control at the Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon.

“I’m excited Professor Bottorff’s work was chosen for a Canadian Cancer Society innovation grant. Targeting new fathers is an innovative way to reduce preventable disease not just in men but also for the whole family.”

Based on their continuing research, a team from UBC’s Vancouver and Okanagan campuses designed and developed the ground-breaking Dads in Gear program and its web-based resources. Now, with collaborators from Bridge Youth and Family Services and Interior Health, the team is launching the program in BC communities.

Over the next two months, Dads in Gear programs will be offered in Kelowna, Nanaimo and Abbotsford. For more information about the program, please check out the Dads in Gear website at or phone 250-807-8054.