June 4, 2022
Q: Will stopping smoking make a difference in how I feel?
A: Quitting smoking can make a huge difference in how you feel by improving energy and quality of life. Quitting can also ease chronic health conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure, airway conditions (asthma, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), etc.) and heartburn, to name a few.
When attempting to quit you may initially have feelings of stress and withdrawal but the health benefits both in the short and long-term far outweigh any short-term discomfort.
Speaking to a qualified healthcare practitioner can help balance expectations and provide support while improving outcomes from a smoking cessation attempt. Plus, quitting smoking can decrease the likelihood of certain types of cancer or chronic diseases.
Q: What methods are there for quitting smoking?
A: There are several methods that can be used to assist with quitting, including:
- Going cold turkey
- Using over-the-counter nicotine replacement products
- Taking prescription products including bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Champix)
Regardless of the method that is used, counselling and support are also a critical component to success in smoking cessation.
Q: How do I start?
A: The first step to starting is being motivated to quit. The next step is to speak to your pharmacist or trusted healthcare provider about your current and prior medical history, smoking history, and previous quit attempts – what worked and what didn’t. This will inform the most appropriate options for quitting. From there, consider an ideal quit date.
Q: Are there any smoking cessation medications I can take?
A: There are a number of over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products available including patches, gums, lozenges, inhalers and mists which can often be used in combination with one another (e.g., a patch to provide constant coverage plus a gum when cravings/situational moments arise). Other options include prescription medications such as bupropion and varenicline.
Q: What are the side effects of quitting smoking?
A: Side effects depend on the medication, or combination of medications, prescribed and used to help you quit. These may include difficulty with sleep or concentration, feeling restless, weight gain, an increase or change in metabolism of certain medications and substances (such as caffeine) or dealing with withdrawal and craving symptoms.
The side effects of NRT products are generally considered mild and may include headache, nausea, dizziness, sleep problems or unusual dreams and/or skin irritation (in the case of patches). There is the chance that they could cause a racing heartbeat or worsen unstable cardiovascular disease.
Prescription products such as bupropion or varenicline could potentially worsen depression in unstable psychiatric illness or cause recurrence of seizures. Special consideration should also be given if there is any history of liver or kidney diseases when evaluating products.
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The content on this website is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment, and before undertaking a new health-care regimen.