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Your Pharmacist’s Role in Helping You Quit Smoking

You, your pharmacist, and smoking cessation

It’s always a good time to think about living a healthier life. Did you know with the help of a health care professional your chances of successfully quitting smoking increases by 6 times? Pharmacists can provide education and help find the right medications for smoking cessation. Many pharmacies offer smoking cessation counselling, and can even have tobacco cessation certified pharmacists. During the counselling sessions, your pharmacist will gather a health history, background information about your smoking, and help determine where you are in the quitting stage. From there they can help you form a plan and get you motivated. They can also offer expertise when discussing nicotine replacement therapy and other medications that help with smoking cessation.

A common misconception is that you must want to completely quit to get help. In fact, your pharmacist can simply provide more information on smoking cessation, therapies used, or help you reduce the number of cigarettes you are smoking per day. Your pharmacist can also make a personalized care plan for you along the way. They are there to provide support and help you guide your own decisions.

What happens to your brain when you smoke?

Nicotine is a chemical which stimulates the production of dopamine in the brain. These small hits of dopamine make you feel pleasant. Eventually, nicotine rewires the brain to crave dopamine. Along with the dopamine, a chemical called adrenaline also gets released. This increases your blood pressure and heart rate. Therefore, even if you feel more relaxed after a cigarette, your body is under physical stress. Cigarettes also contain many toxic chemicals- including carcinogens. Pharmacists use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) because it bypasses having to use the full cigarette with the toxic chemicals, reduces symptoms of nicotine withdrawal and increases chances of successfully quitting smoking. Remember, nicotine is the chemical your body can become addicted to (because of the dopamine it helps stimulate), and all the other toxic chemicals just come along for the ride.

What are some benefits of quitting smoking?

In 20 minutes, your blood pressure drops and becomes more normal
In 24 hours, your risk of having a heart attack starts to go down
In 1 year, your added risk of coronary heart disease has decreased by 50%
In 5 years, you have the same risk of having a stroke as a non-smoker
In 10 years, your chances of dying from lung, kidney, pancreas, bladder, throat and mouth cancer are significantly lower.

Quitting smoking is difficult. Not only is it a habit, but it also is a physical addiction. Chances of becoming successful increase with the help and support of family, friends and health care providers. Your pharmacist is there to help. Increase your chances of quitting this year. Go see a Pharmasave Pharmacist.

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