Quitting Smoking

Jan 2, 2017

By Trevor Shewfelt, Pharmacist at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

How about skiing at Asessippi? We could snow shoe around Moon Lake or Kippen Mills in Riding Mountain. How about ice fishing on Lake Dauphin? I have some time off at the beginning of 2017 while the kids are still off of school. Despite the forecast of frigid temperatures, I'm trying to get the kids excited about doing something, anything outside. And I am failing. I feel like my dad trying to drag my sister and I away from the TV.

Instead of trying to convince other people to do something, what are planning on doing for yourself? 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, let's 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.

Times change. My parents now escape winter in Texas. My kids don't watch TV so much as their phones and tablets. Hey, that gives me an idea. My dad couldn't pick up the TV and use that lure my sister and I outside. But with a little Duct Tape…… So if you are driving through Riding Mountain near Moon Lake, look for a big guy with two screens taped to outside of his back pack. Hopefully two zombie-eyed children will be snow shoeing behind him. At least until the batteries die.

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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