Your pharmacist's role in smoking cessation

You are aware that giving up cigarettes is not an easy thing to do. It requires motivation, will, discipline, and—help! Pharmacists are very knowledgeable about smoking cessation and, as healthcare professionals, they can help you in many ways; here are five of them. 

1. Your pharmacist can help you develop an action plan.

Smokers tend to postpone the time for action indefinitely. There are no lack of reasons to convince oneself that the time isn't right: lack of motivation, stressful time at work, illness, etc. It is true that quitting smoking is a great challenge, but everyone has the ability to succeed!

Some people make the mistake of beginning the process without first having prepared an action plan. Smoking cessation is not a mere gesture, but rather a process which begins by answering questions such as these:

  • What will my stop date be?
  • Will I quit "cold turkey" or gradually?
  • Should I use a smoking cessation aid? If so, which one?
  • Who around me can I ask for support?
  • How will I overcome my cravings?
  • Etc.

Developing an action plan can be difficult if you don't know much about smoking cessation. Your pharmacist is very knowledgeable on the subject. Ask him/her for strategies and ways to increase your chances of success. For instance, you are more likely to put your plan into action if you put it down in writing.

2. Your pharmacist can help you choose a smoking cessation aid.

Smoking cessation aids are sold over-the-counter or with a prescription and make quitting smoking easier by reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms, which significantly increases your chances of success. Specialists recommend the use of a smoking cessation aid and estimate that only 1 out of 20 people is successful in quitting smoking permanently without it.

Smoking cessation aids are divided into two groups—oral treatments and nicotine replacement therapies. The two oral medications that are officially approved in Canada are varenicline and bupropion. They are available by prescription only. Nicotine replacement therapies do not require a prescription (see below for additional details).

It is important to choose the appropriate smoking cessation aid by taking into account several factors, including your age, lifestyle, health, and medical history. As medication experts, pharmacists are well-suited to advise you and help you to make the best choice. Among other things, they can then inform you about the conditions of use of the medication, side effects, and the warnings and precautions associated to them. With this advice, you will benefit the most from the treatment and increase your chances of success.

3. Your pharmacist can prescribe a nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).

As the name implies, NRTs offer a dose of nicotine to a person in the smoking cessation process other than by the inhalation of cigarette smoke. This dose helps to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, nervousness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, etc.

There is a wide range of NRTs in the form of patches, chewing gum, lozenges, inhalers or sprays. These products are considered as first-line smoking cessation treatments because of their efficacy and safety profiles. Although they are sold over-the-counter, these products are reimbursed by a number of insurance companies when they are prescribed. The good news is that your pharmacist can now prescribe them to you, so you don't have to see your doctor to get a prescription.

However, it is important to know that your pharmacist will need to meet with you for a consultation. He/she will ask you questions and evaluate your situation to ensure that you are prescribed the best treatment possible. At the end of the consultation, he/she will decide whether or not an NRT is suitable for you. Note that oral treatments such as varenicline and bupropion must always be prescribed by a doctor.

4. Your pharmacist can give you advice to manage your cravings and cope with your withdrawal symptoms.

It's well-known that cravings and withdrawal symptoms are what makes quitting smoking difficult. Many people find it hard to manage them because of the discomfort they cause. In addition to the use of a smoking cessation aid, the person who quits smoking must employ other means, tips, and solutions. Fortunately, there are many!

There are several sources of information at your disposal, such as the internet. Find valuable tools online, for instance, iquitnow.qc.ca, which has a wealth of useful information. Also, ask former smokers to share their winning strategies with you. The more informed you are, the better your chances of obtaining your objective.

Once again, your pharmacist can play a crucial role. Pharmacists' expertise and experience make them a valuable resource. By asking them questions, you will better understand tobacco addiction and discover ways to get it under control. Simple tips within your reach can sometimes make all the difference. You have the choice of a wide range of solutions. Your pharmacist can help you discover what they are!

You will find advice to help control your cigarette cravings in the following text: Do you want to quit smoking?

5. Your pharmacist can assist you to achieve your goal to quit smoking.

Having others' support will make things easier and help you to succeed. Your parents, friends, and colleagues can be a significant source of motivation and support. That said, it is also important to have the support of a healthcare professional throughout the process, such as your pharmacist, whose help and support you will appreciate every step of the way.

Pharmacists are concerned about their patients' health and will gladly invest time and energy in order to help them. The benefit justifies the cost! Pharmacists are glad to follow your progress and to encourage you and offer advice. If, during this journey, you have questions, concerns, doubts, or you just need a small dose of extra motivation, stop by to speak to them or give them a call!

There is no doubt that there is nothing better than giving up tobacco to improve your health, well-being, and quality of life. Your pharmacist knows it! That is why it is strongly advisable to call upon him/her as many times as necessary. There's strength in numbers—and you can count on pharmacists to join their strength to yours, so you can celebrate one of the greatest victories of your life!

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Your pharmacist's role in smoking cessation

You are aware that giving up cigarettes is not an easy thing to do. It requires motivation, will, discipline, and—help! Pharmacists are very knowledgeable about smoking cessation and, as healthcare professionals, they can help you in many ways; here are five of them. 
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