May 31 is World No Tobacco Day

May 31 is World No Tobacco Day, a perfect opportunity for a refresher on the resources available to people who want to quit for good.

May 31 is World No Tobacco Day, a perfect opportunity for a refresher on the resources available to people who want to quit for good.

Other than lung cancer, smoking greatly increases the risk of developing lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which can both significantly reduce the affected individual’s quality of life. Smoking is also associated with an increased risk of several other types of cancer, as well as of cardiovascular disease and erectile dysfunction. According to the World Health Organization, tobacco kills half of all people who smoke it. Even though there has been a decrease in smoking in many industrialized countries in recent years, the overall consumption worldwide is on the increase.

People who have tried or succeeded in breaking the habit know what a challenge it can be. Typically, a smoker will only manage to quit after several attempts, and nearly one out of every two Canadian smokers is estimated to make at least one attempt per year to quit smoking. It is therefore important not to get discouraged if your first attempt was not successful.

Quitting smoking should be planned. There will undoubtedly be times when the temptation to light up is very strong. How do you plan on handling those cravings? The Quebec site “I Quit Now” is very well designed and is full of tips to guide you through the process of becoming – and most importantly remaining – a non-smoker (http://www.iquitnow.qc.ca/).

Pharmacists are great allies for obtaining advice throughout the smoking cessation process. By analyzing your smoking habits with you, they can recommend the smoking cessation aid best suited to your needs. Some, like nicotine replacement products (patch, gum, lozenges) are sold without a prescription and can be reimbursed by the Quebec drug insurance plan, under certain conditions. Others are prescription medications that act on the brain. In those cases, your pharmacist will refer you to a physician. Of course, you can quit smoking without a smoking cessation aid, but be aware that these products greatly increase your odds of succeeding.

May 31 is World No Tobacco Day, so why not take this opportunity to think about your options? If you’re thinking about quitting, speak to your pharmacist, who will be a precious help throughout the process!

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