Quitting Smoking

Jan 5, 2016

By Trevor Shewfelt, Pharmacist at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

Nice is Just a Place in France by the Betches Emily showed me this book at a Chapters Indigo store on Boxing Day. Emily, my niece Bailey, Eric, Doris and I were helping the kids spend their Christmas money. Emily was positively gleeful about all the cursing, hook up advice and shooter recommendations in the book. Emily was obviously looking for a good reaction from me. I told her it probably wasn't age appropriate for her as I tried not to get too excited in the book store. Although she is much better at pushing Doris's buttons than mine, Emily does seem to enjoy when she can get my goat as well.

This year I resolve to count to ten before responding to my kids provocations. Have you made any New Years Resolutions? Did you resolve to get healthier this year? If you are a smoker, the best thing you can do for your health is to quit. It far, far better for your health to quit smoking than any diet or exercise program every could be.

Before talking about how to quit, lets state the obvious. Smoking is bad for your health. Smoking is the number 1 cause of premature death in North America. Name a body part, and we can tell you how smoking is bad for it. Other than the heart and lungs that everyone knows about, let's talk about some less discussed problems. Smoking decreases the blood flow to the skin, and this leads to leathery-looking skin and increased wrinkling. The more you smoke, the more likely you are to get cataracts - an eye problem that can lead to blindness. Smoking is the main reason people get cancer in the mouth. Smoking makes it harder for your saliva to remove germs in your mouth. You'll get stains, bad breath, and a higher chance of gum disease. Smokers are twice as likely as non-smokers to develop psoriasis - a disfiguring red and silver rash that can occur anywhere on your body. Smokers are more prone to stomach ulcers. The ulcers don't heal as fast, and they're more likely to recur. There's also growing evidence that smoking may increase the risk of chronic bowel disease. Finally, guys, smoking causes impotence.

Are you ready to quit this year? Great! A positive attitude is a good first step. But you have to be realistic. It won't be easy. The numbers I could find said that only about 10% of people who try to quit cold turkey will succeed. There is a way to double your odds of quitting, though. About 20% of smokers will successfully kick the habit if they use a medication and a detailed smoking cessation plan worked out with a health care professional.

What medications are available to help quit smoking? The most popular, by far, is the prescription pill called Champix or varenicline. It works well, but the reason it is popular is because it is the only medication that is covered by pharmacare. Other medications include the prescription pill Zyban and nicotine patches, sprays, gums and lozenges. If you want to try something different, how about a Nicotine Lollipop? Nicotine Lollipops are prescription items that the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy can custom make for people under the direction of their doctor.

We make 2mg and 4mg Nicotine Lollipops in strawberry flavor, but we can customize the flavor or the strength under the direction of your doctor. The idea behind the Nicotine Lollipop is we are putting some of the nicotine back into your system that the cigarette used to provide. This will help reduce (not eliminate) the cravings for cigarettes. There is an added bonus. People who have used the Lollipop say they like that they are still putting something in their mouth like they used to do with a cigarette.

How do you use the Nicotine Lollipop and how long does it last? This will vary person to person, but in general one Lollipop will last about 1/2 a pack of cigarettes. During your regular cigarette break you put the Lollipop in your mouth for about 5 minutes or until the craving passes (whichever is less) and then you reseal the Lollipop in our special child proof container and put it away until your next craving. What strength of Lollipop do you need? That will depend on the patient, but usually the 2mg Lollipop is for 1 or less packs a day, and the 4 mg is for people who smoke more than a pack a day.

Friends of mine have finished raising their teenaged daughter. She now has a couple of degrees and is out on her own in the world. Recently, they got a dog. Although they are having some minor training issues, like how to get the dog not to bark when the furnace kicks in, things are going well. Between getting another teenaged daughter and a dog, I think they made a good choice. We've got a dog and a teenaged daughter. Sheldon the dog listens better, is happier and doesnt go out of his way to make me lose the little hair I have left. Now what was that I said about counting to ten?

I am Trevor Shewfelt from the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy. The Pharmacy Feature is heard here every Tuesday on 730 CKDM

As always if you have any questions or concerns about these or other products, ask your pharmacist.

The information in this article is intended as a helpful guide only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice. If you have any questions about your medications and what is right for you see your doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional.

We now have this and most other articles published in the Parkland Shopper on our Website. Please visit us at www.dcp.ca

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