Quitting Smoking

Is it your time to quit smoking? In Canada almost 5.4 million people smoke, and about one third of those Canadians will pick quitting smoking as their New Year’s resolution. For many people, this is something that will take time to do, however the first step to quitting smoking is to make the decision to quit. Unfortunately, many people who try to quit will experience set backs – but these can be positive opportunities. Many smokers will try to quit smoking several times before they are successful. The more times they try the more successful they will be.

When you first quit smoking you will go through several changes in your body and you may experience some physical symptoms of withdrawal. These can include, an increase in appetite, feeling irritable, restless, mildly depressed and having trouble falling asleep. Keep in mind these will only last a few days and the more times you try to quit, the more you will know what to expect.

There are many ways to quit smoking from going “cold turkey” to using a system where you gradually taper off smoking. Each person is different and it may take more than one strategy to quit smoking altogether. For some, medications may help to quit smoking as well. In Canada there are three proven different types of medications that are available to help with quitting smoking. These include nicotine replacement (patch, gum, lozenges, inhaler), bupropion and varenicline. Research shows that when used in combination with support groups or proper counseling, all of these therapies can improve your chances of success. As with most medications you should be talking to your doctor or pharmacist before trying any medications.

Quitting smoking can be a challenge, but knowing what to do can help to maximize your success rate. From speaking with a health professional about what your treatment plan is to speaking with your family and friends and letting them know you are quitting smoking, all of these strategies will help to increase your chances of successfully quitting. Other tips to help you quit can include:

- developing an action plan with your doctor, pharmacist or other health care professional
- avoid triggers, such as smoking in your car or smoking at parties
- don’t carry matches or lighters with you
- delay the time you are going to smoke
- enlist the help of a good friend or family member

If you would like more information about this topic or any other topic, speak with your Rxellence pharmacist.