February 2018: Smoking Cessation

The Rural Pharmacist: Smoking Cessation

-Henry Tempelman, Pharmacist & Owner

You’ve probably heard it before: Smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Canada, killing more than 40,000 Canadians every year. Canada has an initiative called “Under 5 by ‘35”, where the goal is to have less than 5% of Canadians smoking tobacco by the year 2035; current data suggests that approximately 18% of Canadians are smokers. By reaching our goal in 2035, we could save thousands of lives from tobacco-related disease and death and improve the quality of life of so many more. Surveys show 85% of cigarette smokers would like to stop, 75% of smokers have tried to quit at least once and over half of all Canadians who have smoked quit successfully.  Our pharmacists are here to help those in our community reach their goal of being smoke-free.

Quitting smoking not only saves lives, it also saves money for your wallet.

Depending on the number of cigarettes smoked in a day, here’s an example of how much money you could save if you were to quit:

·          1 pack/week X 52 weeks = $520-624 per year

·         ½ pack/day X 365 days = $1825-2190 per year

·         1 pack/day X 365 days = $3650 -4380 per year


We can all agree: those numbers would look better in your bank account. That’s not counting savings from potential prescription medications (such as inhalers, blood pressure and heart medications, etc), life insurance, burns in furniture and clothing, etc.

Quitting smoking will make you feel better almost immediately. Two weeks of being smoke-free leads to increased circulation and improved healing following surgery.  One month of being smoke-free means coughing less and breathing better. After one year your risk of smoking-related heart disease or stroke is cut in half.  After five years your risk of stroke is the same as someone who never smoked.  After fifteen years your risk of heart disease is similar to a non-smoker. It gets better and better with each passing moment of being smoke free.

Too old to quit smoking? Never. Read the paragraph above again for some of the short-term benefits. Quitting smoking will also lead to an improved sense of taste and smell, increased energy, increased endurance. Get the most out of those golden years and enjoy the good things in life. 

You can probably think of some personal reasons to quit smoking as well, like reducing secondhand smoke for your kids, grandkids, spouse, friends. Does smoking keep you from doing the activities you enjoy such as hiking, sports, playing with kids or grandkids?  Want to witness your kids or grandkids grow up and reach life milestones?  Reducing your risk of a stroke or heart attack increase your chances to be there for those milestones. They want you to be there too.

Now... quitting isn’t easy. Nicotine, along with the other harmful ingredients in a cigarette, is addictive. Smoking also has a psychological dependence, being linked with pleasurable activities such as coffee after dinner, getting together with friends, relaxing, alcohol intake, etc. Our pharmacists are experts in smoking cessation and are here to help and guide you. Think of it this way: If you want to get in shape, you may hire a personal trainer. Even though you are capable of running or lifting weights on your own, having a personal trainer motivate you and guide your workouts helps you reach your goals. Think of our pharmacists as your personal trainer for quitting smoking – just not as sweaty with probably.. actually, definitely less defined abs than your personal trainer.

Tried everything? Ask our pharmacists about Cravv, a new natural health product which contains 1.5mg of cytisine. Cytisisine has been used with great success in areas of Europe, Australia and New Zealand and has been studied by some of the top medical journals in the world. When compared against traditional nicotine replacement therapy (Nicorette, Nicoderm, Thrive), cytisine was shown to be more effective and cheaper. Check out www.zpharm.ca for more information about Cravv.

Ask about our Quit Smoking Program. Questions? Give us a call, with no pressure to enter the Quit Smoking Program. Commitment to quitting is the most important aspect for a smoker to quit smoking, even with the different smoking cessation aids available from the pharmacy. Perseverance is also key, because 80% of smokers relapse on their first attempt to quit smoking. Don’t be discouraged if you’ve failed before. Compare it to a child learning how to ride a bike; the child may fall off the bike a few times, but with perseverance they get a little further each time and eventually.. they’re on their own. Let us help you make 2018 the year you went smoke-free.