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"According to a recent Ipsos poll, only 3 in 10 Canadians will set a New Year's resolution, and of those, 73 per cent eventually break them." (1)
If you are considering quitting smoking, great! Smoking puts you at risk of many adverse health outcomes. Health Canada has outlined some of these risks to include making yourself 4x more likely to develop heart disease, 2-4x more likely to have a stroke, and 80% of lung cancers are attributed to smoking (2). The next question is: where do you start? The answer: with any of your health care practitioners – let us support you to be the 27% of successful resolution makers! Now, how let's talk about some options.
Vaping: Vaping is a common tactic to aid in smoking cessation, one of many available. It is thought to be less harmful than smoking tobacco, but vaping solutions vary in their content. The solutions may contain dozens of chemicals. The contents of these mixes have not been evaluated for their long-term safety; therefore, when making these choices, understand that nothing is without risk (3). Dr. Robert Reid, of the Ottawa Heart Institute, indicated that "15 to 20 per cent of people may be able to quit using vaping" (4).
Nicotine Replacement: Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is available in many forms like patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers or mouth sprays. The Public Health agency of Canada assessed their effectiveness as a public health measure and stated: "In trials, nicotine replacement therapy nearly doubles the likelihood of smoking cessation" (5).
Medications: There are medications you can take to aid in quitting smoking, all of which require a prescription and may be started after a conversation with your healthcare provider. Generally, these medications work on receptors in your body to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking (6).
A great resource is www.albertaquits.ca if you are considering quitting smoking. It provides information about cessation options, health benefit coverage, interactive learning tools and supports for success. This is a great place to start your research, then take the information you gathered to your healthcare provider and start the conversation.