Quitting Smoking

Jan 7, 2013

By Trevor Shewfelt, Pharmacist at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

Ewww, naked fat man! I looked up and saw Emily pointing at me. My daughter exaggerates. I was trying to get ready for work. Yes, I was in the kitchen looking for my phone. Yes, I didnt have a shirt on yet, but I did have pants on, so I didnt qualify as naked. I think the fat comment was a little harsh as well. However, maybe she has a point. Maybe my New Years Resolution should be to lose a little weight.


What about your New Years Resolutions? Are you thinking of quitting smoking this year? I was listening to an interview with a cancer researcher. He was asked what would be the next big cancer break through. He said we can already significantly reduce the amount of cancer in the population. He said the number 1, 2, 3, and 4 best things for reducing cancer in the population is quitting smoking. So.HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! Now is the time to quit.


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? 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. 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.


The Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy runs such a quit smoking program. You just come into the pharmacy and say you want to sign up for the quit smoking program. We will charge you $99 and give you a questionnaire to fill out. You will come in and visit the pharmacist 4-6 times and get take home assignments each time. These assignments will have do things like log every cigarette you smoke and why you smoked it for 24 hours, and completing questionnaires that will help determine how addicted you are to nicotine. After your assignments are done, you will book an appointment to sit down with one of our pharmacists. The two of you will review how you smoke and how would be the best way to get you to quit. You and the pharmacist will decide which medication will be the best one to help you quit smoking. If you pick a prescription medication, the pharmacist will contact your doctor to get a prescription for you.


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, 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.


Emily is always excited when January rolls around. She likes January because her birthday is early in the month. I have to admit I am less than excited by the idea of trying to become less of a fat man this January. If you are apprehensive about trying to quit smoking this year, call the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy at 204-638-4602. Maybe the signing up for the $99 Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy Quit Smoking Program can make you a non-smoker this New Year.


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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