Quitting Smoking

Jan 6, 2015

By Trevor Shewfelt, Pharmacist at the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

You cant rush genius! This response did not mean Emily was going to leave her room and come to the supper table any faster than usual. But I thought she deserved kudos for ignoring me more imaginatively than usual. I usually hear I hate you all! and You people suck! when we ask Emily to participate in family life. I know it is in the job description of a teenaged girl to rebel and do the exact opposite of you ask them, but that doesnt make it any less frustrating. Id love to learn some innovative parenting tips and tricks. Anyone know a good military school?

While Emily will tell you I obviously cant parent, the Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy has some innovative new tips and tricks to share with you. Are you thinking of quitting smoking this year? The Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy participated in a fantastic Smoking Cessation Pilot project last year. It involved pharmacies from all over the province. Manitoba Health and other funding agencies paid for about 100 people on social assistance to go through an extensive quit smoking program run by pharmacists. The Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy designed the forms all the pharmacies across the province used. We learned so much from interacting with the researchers and other pharmacies in the pilot project that we can now help people to quit smoking even better than before!

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.

Thanks to the quit smoking pilot project, the Dauphin Clinic quit smoking program is even better this year. To sign up, 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, 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.

I suppose I should give both my kids credit for annoying me in new and innovative ways. Over Christmas they both took up crocheting. They are now as likely to be sitting on the couch crocheting as they are to be staring at electronics. I guess that is an improvement, right? My nine year old Eric did throw me for a loop though last week when I asked him to unload the dishwasher. Instead of whining, playing Xbox or running away, he said, I cant. Im doing my stitching! I think in the innovation war between parent and child I may be hopelessly out gunned.

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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