Quitting smoking is one of the top 10 New Year’s resolutions from last year, and it will be again this year. Despite this effort, 1 person dies from tobacco use every 8 seconds. This sad statistic needs to change!
1) For your HEALTH
- Within 20 minutes your blood pressure and pulse rate decrease
- After 8 hours your blood oxygen level goes back to normal
- After 3 days, your breathing will be easier
- After 1 year, there is a 50% reduction in the risk of smoking related heart attack.
- After 5 years your risk of having a stroke is the same as that of a non– smoker
- The benefits get better, the longer you have quit for!
2) For the ENVIRONMENT
- 4.3 trillion cigarette butts are discarded annually, 30% as litter
- Cigarette butts can take up to 15 years to break down
- When they break down, they leach toxic chemicals into our soil and water harming humans and animals alike
3) For the health of OTHERS
- Second hand smoke KILLS children and adults who do not smoke
- There is no safe level of exposure to second hand smoke
4) To save MONEY
- Smoking a pack of cigarettes a day costs approximately $4,100 annually
Why is it so hard to quit?
Smoking is an addiction to nicotine, and nicotine is as addicting as cocaine or heroin. When someone smokes, nicotine reaches their brain in 10 seconds. Each time that person smokes, their brain becomes more tolerant to the effects of nicotine. They need more of the drug nicotine to get the same pleasurable effect.
The addiction to smoking has a few different components:
- Physical addiction—your body is used to functioning with a certain level of nicotine. When you quit, withdrawal symptoms such as headache, nausea and anxiety cause a desire to smoke again. These symptoms will disappear in a few weeks if smoking is not resumed.
- Behavioral conditioning—like the old story of Pavlov’s dog. Whether a person associates a cigarette with the smell of coffee or a chat with a friend, these cues make it harder to quit.
- Psychological—people feel they need their cigarettes to cope with daily life. They feel that without it they would not be able to make it through the day.
What can I use to help kick the habit?
There are many options both non-drug and drug that can be used to quit smoking. These include:
- Support groups (in person and online)
- Nicotine Replacement (patch, gum etc.)
- Prescription Medications (Champix/Zyban)
- Combination of the above strategies
How can your pharmacist help you quit smoking?
They can help you quit by:
- Assessing the level of your nicotine dependence
- Working with you to choose which medication (if any) will work best for you
- Providing support and one-on-one counseling
- Directing you to support groups and resources
- Educating you on withdrawal symptoms and methods to cope with them
Ask your pharmacist how you can QUIT !
Remember, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”. It simply takes some practice.