The end of another calendar year is a time when many people reflect on the past and consider making some life changes, both big and small. One resolution that perpetually appears on top ten lists is to quit smoking.
And with good reason. In case we hadn’t heard, Health Canada, the Lung Association, the Canadian Cancer Society and the World Health Organization, among others, agree that quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your health. “Smokers who quit dramatically reduce the risk of developing many chronic diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and lung cancer,” says Kelly-Jo Gillis, Manager of Preventive Health Services. “And in the short term, there are many benefits including improved sense of smell and taste.”
While some manage to quit on their own, using the cold turkey method, most people need supports to bolster willpower. From low-tech (chewing gum) to high-tech (free mobile apps), the following arsenal of quit techniques may be used alone or in combination. To find out which method may be best suited to your situation, talk to your doctor or healthcare professional.
Telephone counsellors give confidential one-on-one support to people who are interested in quitting smoking. Speak to your healthcare professional about getting a referral or call a Smokers’ Helpline Quit Coach at 1-877-513-5333.
Check out the mushrooming quit support community on social media like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Online counselling and support groups, often facilitated or monitored by trained counsellors, offer inspiration, insight and advice about the quitting process. Talk to a healthcare professional for a recommendation or visit Smokers’ Helpline Online at www.smokershelpline.ca to get started.
Trained counsellors give confidential one-on-one support to people interested in quitting smoking. Talk with a healthcare professional about getting a referral or contact the Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) at (807) 625-5900 about Take Control, a free one-on-one tobacco cessation counselling program. TBDHU will also hosts STOP (Smoking Treatment for Ontario Patients) workshops in which participants attend a 3-hour group psychoeducation presentation and receive a free 5-week kit of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). Call (807) 625-8340 to see if you are eligible for STOP.
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) comes in four forms: the patch, gum, an inhaler, and lozenges. It comes in different strengths (dosages), and several brand names. NRT helps you quit by easing your nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as anger, anxiety, cravings, difficulty concentrating, hunger, impatience and restlessness. NRT works by giving you some of the nicotine you used to get from cigarettes. It helps you control how much nicotine you are taking. With NRT, you can slowly lower your dose of nicotine as your body adjusts to being smoke-free. Ask your healthcare professional if NRT is right for you.
Prescription medications may help reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Talk to your doctor or a healthcare professional honestly and openly about your particular situation as prescription medications can have side effects associated with them.
Get scheduled messages and interactive support to help you cope with cravings. Register for free with the Smokers’ Helpline text messaging service. Tell them your quit date and your preferred message schedule and you will receive supportive messages on your mobile device. Or download the free Break It Off app to help you get through those moments of weakness in real time (www.breakitoff.ca).
With support and encouragement only a call, click or text away, you can make 2018 the year that you become an ex-smoker.