Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable disease and premature death in Canada.
Today, May 31, is World No Tobacco Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of smoking and what we can do to reduce global tobacco consumption.
As a pharmacist, the health and well-being of our community is very important to me, which is why I provide smoking cessation information to help you regain your health.
Nicotine, the chemical found in all tobacco products, is addictive and that’s why it’s so hard to quit smoking. In fact, only 5% of people successfully quit smoking without the support of smoking cessation medications or the help of a counsellor.
You shouldn’t be discouraged if quitting smoking suddenly doesn’t work for you, because it doesn’t work for 95% of those who try to quit.
Research has shown that combining different quit smoking methods is more likely to be successful than using just one. The most important thing is to find the best approach that works for you.
Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but with help you can increase your chances of success.
If you are trying to quit smoking, several supports are available, including seeking advice from health care providers, visiting smoking cessation clinics, using medications, and following self-help guides.
Healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, can help you assess your needs, develop a personalized plan to help you quit, and address any concerns you may have about quitting. As a pharmacist and someone qualified to help you quit smoking, I’ve put together some tips and resources to help you quit smoking:
• Remember there is a light at the end of the tunnel—When you quit smoking, you may experience uncomfortable symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. This is because your body becomes addicted to nicotine, so in its absence your body will go through withdrawal. Although quitting is unpleasant, it is not harmful to your body and will improve as you remain smoke-free.
• Crush cravings—It’s normal to have cravings when you quit smoking, especially if you smoke regularly. There are many things you can do to manage cravings. Identifying and avoiding triggers, chewing sugar-free gum, and distracting yourself with physical activity are great places to start.
• Talk to your pharmacist—Simply talking to a healthcare professional about quitting smoking has been shown to increase motivation to quit. Your pharmacist is an accessible healthcare professional who can listen to you and educate you about quitting smoking and help you develop a personalized plan. Your pharmacist can also recommend products to help you quit smoking which may be available without a prescription.
Quitting smoking is difficult but not impossible. Pharmacists are here to help you take one of the most important steps towards improving your health.
Talk to one to learn more about the importance of quitting smoking and the supports and services available to you.
Nathan Klaassen is a pharmacist and owner of your local Shoppers Drug Mart in Kelowna.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.