Today is Weedless Wednesday.
“A friendly face makes everything easier, including that all-important first step to quitting smoking,” said Surrey pharmacy owner Joe Jacob. He is a supporter of the BC Smoking Cessation Program and believes that pharmacists can offer support to customers interested in accessing the PharmaCare program.
“Pharmacists are able to assess and offer treatment options, giving smokers the best chance of quitting. Patients can be assured that their nicotine replacement therapies are dosed correctly for their unique needs, particularly if they are handling intense cravings,” Jacob said.
In January 2016, changes to the BC Smoking Cessation Program meant that eligible B.C. smokers interested in using nicotine replacement therapies no longer have to dial 811 to enrol. Instead, they can walk into any community pharmacy to speak to the pharmacist about what products would work best for their unique goals for quitting. After consulting with the pharmacist, the smoker registers for the program and walks out of the store with the right product for the individual to have the best chance of quitting.
“The changes were huge to clients. When you’re trying to start anything, like a fitness regimen, or a weight-loss program, if there are any barriers at all, that means you’re not even going to try. Removing the barrier of first having to phone 811 meant that people could walk in, talk to their local pharmacist, and walk out already on their way to quitting,” Jacob said.
And now, one year out, front-line pharmacists are already noticing a positive change.
“I have had clients tell me how happy they are they don’t have to worry about it, that they can just come in and get started,” said Rebecca Petersen, a pharmacist at Pharmasave Grandview Corners, Jacob’s pharmacy. “People lead busy lives and quitting smoking is just one piece of that life. If we can make it smoother and easier, that means more people might try to quit.”
Smoking often may be accompanied by other health issues, like cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or diabetes.
“We want every client to feel their best, and I think that can be done by introducing them to the program in a friendly way,” Jacob said. “Think about it this way. You don’t want to just slap on a Nicotine Replacement Therapy patch and walk out the door. You want to do this right, with support and guidance.”
Along with nicotine replacement therapies or medications, smokers wanting to quit should also sign up at QuitNow.ca for personal telephone coaching, or a motivational text program delivered by smartphone. Studies show that combining therapy with coaching support can improve a smoker’s chances of quitting long-term. Many pharmacies, such as Jacob’s also offer structured, individualized quit smoking support programs.
Quitting smoking often takes many attempts. People can try the BC Smoking Cessation Program, offering B.C. residents free access up to 12 weeks supply of nicotine-replacement-therapy products, just by registering at their community pharmacy, or going to see a doctor to get a prescription for PharmaCare coverage of a prescription drug, based on your plan.
Furthermore, the program now also has more product choices. People trying to quit can choose between nicotine gum, lozenges, an inhaler or the patch.
“Go ahead, commit to stop smoking and make 2017 your year!” Jacob said.
For more information about joining the BC Smoking Cessation Program, visit: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/health-drug-coverage/pharmacare-for-bc-residents/what-we-cover/drug-coverage/bc-smoking-cessation-program
Need some support as you try to quit smoking? Register for free, confidential quit coaching by telephone, videoconferencing, smartphone text, or computer chat, or to register for monthly group coaching sessions, or to find quit plans, expense calculators, and other tools, and to connect with other quitters on social media channels. Translation for QuitNow coaching services is now available in over 300 languages: www.quitnow.ca
To learn more about National Non-Smoking Week and Weedless Wednesday: http://nnsw.ca/
Links to photos:
Joe Jacob, owner of Pharmasave Grandview Corners: https://flic.kr/p/Q6fgpi
Rebecca Petersen, pharmacist at Jacob’s pharmacy: https://flic.kr/p/R6D927