Being Smoke Free
By Katelyn Smith
Perhaps like many individuals, you made a New Year’s resolution to stop smoking January 2018. Some recent statistics estimate that likely only 7% of individuals who made a New Year’s resolution to quit smoking were successful. If you made a New Year’s resolution to stop smoking, tried and failed to become smoke free, you are not alone.
As well, this may not be your first attempt at quitting smoking, and that’s ok! In fact, it can take most people several attempts before they successfully quit. Luckily for you, you can take advantage of knowing that by seeing a physician, it increases your chances of successfully quitting by 66%! With the help of a physician or health professional, you can create an individualized plan to overcome the unique obstacles that you are facing and connect with many resources.
As you are probably aware by now, quitting smoking will improve your health. Besides a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer there are plenty of other bonuses. For example, your sense of taste and smell will improve, and breathing will become easier on a daily basis. Plus, fresher breath and extra cash in your pocket can be a pretty great perk.
The truth is, although these benefits sound great, quitting can be challenging. Nicotine’s addictive quality can put you through a wide range of withdrawal symptoms when you decide to quit. It is different for everyone, but you may experience changes in your mood, trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, or even an increase in appetite. No one wants to go through the withdrawal stage, but the benefits are worth it. The best part about living in Northwestern Ontario is that there are plenty of forms of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) available through gum, patches, inhalers, and lozenges. With nicotine replacement therapy, you can slowly decrease the amount of nicotine you are ingesting and avoid the chemicals and smoke that accompany it when having a cigarette.
Nicotine replacement therapy is not the only way that a health professional can help you. They can also help you set your start date, identify your triggers, help you make a plan on how to manage your cravings and withdrawal symptoms, and find support groups that interest you. Along with this, they are also able to give you more information on various stop-smoking medications that may be suited for you.
Ready to take your first step? There are a variety of resources available throughout Northwestern Ontario. Whether you enjoy working one-on-one with a health professional, using online programs, talking over the phone, or just using text messaging - there is a program suited for you. For a full list of programs currently available, head over to NWQuit.com. Free individualized tobacco cessation counselling is also available at the NorWest Community Health Centres through the Moving On to Being Free program.For more information, just call 626-8506.
Keep in mind that the negative health impacts of smoking are not limited to tobacco. With cannabis legalization just around the corner, it’s increasingly important to take the time out of your day to inform yourself and weigh the pros and cons of smoking cannabis. A great place to get started is the Government of Canada “Cannabis: know the risks – Canada.ca” website.
Katelyn Smith wrote this article while volunteering for the NorWest Community Health Centres. Katelyn has recently accepted a Public Health Nurse position within Northwestern Ontario.
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