Quitting Smoking

Jan 4, 2018

By Trevor Shewfelt, Pharmacist at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

2017 - The Year of Trump. I love local, provincial and national news and politics. However, the Tangerine-in-Chief south of the border has been mesmerizing. Every other day he says or tweets something that would end any other person's political career. He is a car crash that I can't stop watching or thinking about. The CBC Radio Show, Day 6, has a Trump Impeach-O-Meter segment, where they invite experts to guess how likely, from 0-100%, that Trump is to be impeached each week. I've started religiously following a podcast called "What Trump Can Teach Us about Con Law". I'm learning American Constitutional Law because in relation to Trump, it is fascinating! Abraham Lincoln was once sent a list of people that his General thought should be pardoned for their crimes. He wrote "Pardoned" on the envelope, and they were. Does that mean Trump could Pardon all his family and friends for colluding with the Russian with a tweet? Can Trump Pardon himself? I need to know!

I need to break my Trump habit. If you are looking for a New Year's habit to break, I suggest you ignore your problems with Netflix binging, sugary drink cravings or Xbox taking over your life. 2018 is the Year to Quit Smoking! 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.

I used to be hooked on a milder drug than Trump. I liked listening to Ralph Klein in Alberta. He referred to Edmonton as, "A fine city with too many socialists and mosquitoes. At least you can spray the mosquitoes." Most famously, when describing a rancher whose herd was discovered to have Mad Cow Disease he said, "I guess any self-respecting rancher would have shot, shovelled and shut up, but he didn't do that." Whether you liked his politics or not, Ralph was entertaining. Canada needs another Ralph Klein. I need something to curb my cravings for the citrus colored tweet machine in the Oval Office. At least Ralph could blame some of his poor choices on a drinking problem he had earlier in his career. The Donald doesn't drink. The Irony of "Make America Great Again," will be a tough habit to break. Happy New Year everyone!

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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