QUITTING SMOKING

Jan 9, 2020

By Trevor Shewfelt, Pharmacist at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

"Bill Barilko disappeared that summer. He was on a fishing trip. The last goal he ever scored won the Leafs the Cup. They didn't win another until 1962, the year he was discovered. I stole this from a hockey card. I keep it tucked up under my 50 Mission Cap." The Tragically Hip lyrics fade. Roblin. It must be time for a bathroom break, gas, snacks and/or a sub. Whenever we travel west for hockey, Roblin always seems to be the perfect distance to or from Dauphin for a pit stop.

How are you spending January 2020 so far? Are you planning to try any new activities or hobbies this year? Maybe walk the dog more? 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. 2020 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. 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.

"Hello out there, we're on the air. It's "Hockey Night tonight". Tension grows, the whistle blows, and the puck goes down the ice. The goalie jumps, the players bump and the fans all go insane. Someone roars, "Bobbie Scores!" at the good old hockey game!" Stompin' Tom celebrates hockey from a previous era. Eric has his headphones on. He is watching "That 70's Show" on his phone. I ask him to collect all the fast food wrappers from the vehicle to throw out. He can't hear me. I yell. He yells something rude back. I love road trips. Now he is nice because he wants to plug in his phone. I'll take pleasant Eric when I can.

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.

 


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