Quitting smoking can be a daunting challenge, but with proper planning, inspiration and support, it can also be an achievable goal that will make a significant impact on your overall health and well-being.
“For B.C. residents looking to quit smoking the B.C. Smoking Cessation Program, Quit Smoking, and Quit Now are three great places to start,” says Hisham Metwally, Pharmacy Division Manager at Otter Co-op. “These programs offer support and education for individuals looking to quit and also help absorb some of the costs related to smoking cessation medications.”
Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRTs) such as nicotine gum, patches and sprays, as well as prescription medications like Varenicline (Chantix) and Bupropion (Zyban) can reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, which in theory can make quitting easier, Metwally explains.
While many NRTs are covered through PharmaCare B.C.’s Smoking Cessation Program and available free of charge, Metwally emphasizes that it’s important to remember that NRTs and smoking cessation medications alone are often not enough for those serious about quitting.
Metwally shares his top 6 tips for those hoping to quit smoking in 2024.
- Develop a Quit Plan: Preparing a ‘Quit Plan’ is the best way to start your quitting journey, Metwally says. Set a specific ‘quit date,’ outline your reasons for quitting, identify your ‘triggers’ and come up with strategies for coping with cravings and withdrawals.
- Seek out support and accountability: When breaking any substance addiction, it’s best to surround yourself with supportive friends and family. It can also help to find a support group of others also in the process of quitting.
- Use smoking cessation aids and resources: NRTs and prescription medications are proven to help manage cravings, especially in the initial days or weeks after quitting.
- Recognize triggers and reduce temptations: Remove ash trays, lighters and other smoking accessories from your home to create a safe and smoke-free zone. Reduce stressors where possible and avoid situations where you may in the past have been tempted to smoke.
- Develop healthy coping mechanisms: A successful ‘Quit Plan’ should include new coping strategies for handling stress in a healthy way. Practicing relaxation techniques, engaging in physical activity and finding new hobbies can improve overall well-being while helping overcome cravings.
- Celebrate milestones big and small: When it comes to quitting smoking, every day you don’t smoke is a win! Set up small, frequent rewards at specific intervals to keep you motivated.
“If you’re hoping to embrace a healthier lifestyle this year, quitting smoking should be a top priority,” Metwally says. “Just remember that you should always consult a qualified medical professional prior to starting any new health-related programs, including a smoking cessation program.”
For more health insights and support in all aspects of your health, visit your local Otter Co-op pharmacy at Otter Co-op’s retail centre in Langley. Don’t forget to sign up for an Otter Co-op membership to earn money and equity back on every purchase. Sign up for an Otter Co-op membership online today for a one-time fee of just $10 with no annual renewal!
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