Be a quitter – smokers urged to seek help from community pharmacies to stop smoking
May is Anti-Tobacco Campaign month, culminating in World No Tobacco Day on the 31st, and the Independent Community Pharmacy Association (ICPA) is urging all smokers to visit their community pharmacy for help in quitting this deadly habit.
“Pharmacists are ideally placed to advise people on how to stop smoking and to provide information on the supply of medication. Many will also be able to provide treatment for smokers who want to stop,” says Mark Payne, CEO of the ICPA.
How your local community pharmacy can help you quit smoking
The ICPA advises that you talk to your pharmacist. Community pharmacists can help you in your goal to quit smoking by listening and providing information and advice about:
- different smoking cessation medications (both prescription and non-prescription choices);
- managing nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms;
- dealing with relapses;
- coping with stress;
- general strategies to help you quit;
- finding other support networks and resources to help you quit;
- referring you to other health care providers who can help you ensure you successfully quit smoking.
“Your pharmacist can help you assess your level of nicotine dependence and give you recommendations on how best to approach quitting. They can give you detailed information on the various products available to help you quit smoking, many of which are available without a prescription,” says Payne. “Whether you are looking for a detailed plan to help you quit smoking , seeking some advice on nicotine patches or anything in between, talk to your local community pharmacist. Or stop by the pharmacy and tell your pharmacist that you want to quit and would like their help.”
The ICPA highlight a few reasons why you should quit smoking:
- Cigarettes contain arsenic, formaldehyde, lead, hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, ammonia and 43 known carcinogens.
- Nearly 8 out of 10 COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) deaths are a result of smoking and currently, there is no cure for COPD.
- The chance that a lifelong smoker will die prematurely from a complication of smoking is about 50%.
- In South Africa, tobacco smoking ranks third highest as a mortality risk factor- accounting for approximately 15% of deaths over the age of 35.
- Smoking has been found to harm nearly every bodily organ and organ system in the body and diminishes a person’s overall health.
- Being exposed to second hand smoke slows the growth of children’s lungs and can cause them to cough, wheeze, and feel breathless.
- Smoking is a leading cause of cancer and death from cancer. It causes cancers of the lung, oesophagus, larynx, mouth, throat, kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas, stomach, cervix, colon, and rectum, as well as acute myeloid leukaemia.
ICPA challenges smokers to quit
For the third year running the ICPA is challenging all smokers to take up their annual one month Stop Smoking Challenge.
How the challenge works
Smokers are urged to visit their local community pharmacy to have their blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol checked before they then embark on the Stop Smoking challenge. The challenge entails quitting the habit for a full month before then returning to the pharmacy to once again measure these same statistics and compare the results with those achieved before the month without cigarettes. Smokers who take up this challenge will be surprised by how much their health improves in a short time – in fact after only 20 minutes without a cigarette, blood pressure and pulse can return to normal levels and after eight hours blood oxygen levels return to normal levels.
After 24 hours without a cigarette, carbon monoxide leaves the body and lungs start to clear out mucus and debris. “The ultimate goal is to incentivise smokers through tangible results to stay off cigarettes in the long term. Those that take up this important challenge are also urged to like and follow our facebook page “LoveYouToStopSmoking” where they can post their results, give feedback on how they are coping and receive advice and helpful information on why it is so important to quit. This Facebook page serves as a forum for all the smokers who take up this challenge to gain advice and support, not just from the ICPA, but also from fellow smokers trying to quit,” says Payne.
Why you should take this challenge
Considering the dire consequences to a person’s overall health it is surprising that cigarettes are the single-most traded item on the planet, with approximately one trillion being sold from country to country each year. At a global take of more than $400 billion, it’s one of the world’s largest industries. “Get help and quit this deadly habit,” says Payne. “The ultimate winner is the smoker whose blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol will all have improved. They will wake up in the morning without the terrible smokers cough, they will breathe deeper and easier, their sense of smell and taste will have returned and they will feel healthier overall.” For more information on how to Stop Smoking visit your local pharmacy or visit the Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/loveyoutostop