LANGLEY, British Columbia — Pharmasave aims is educating customers on the health risks from smoking and highlighting its pharmacists as a source of support for people looking to quit smoking.
“Regardless of how long a person has been smoking or using other forms of tobacco, Pharmasave pharmacists can help people become tobacco-free, improving their quality of life and increasing positive health outcomes,” Allison Nourse, national director of pharmacy innovation at Pharmasave, said in a statement.
Studies have shown that employing various smoking cessation methods of can provide better success rates than using them alone, Pharmasave reported. For example, combining counseling and medication has been shown to be more effective in helping people reach their quit-smoking goals.
And with the expansion of their scope of practice in recent years, pharmacists can provide a range of services, support and follow-up for Canadians who want to stop smoking, Pharmasave noted. This includes explanations of the product options available to help people quit smoking, many of which are available without a prescription; help with planning and preparing for nicotine withdrawal and cravings; coaching and motivational support with follow-up and monitoring; and support and information to help people make healthier diet and exercise choices.
In addition, pharmacists can provide advice on coping with stress and options for dealing with relapses; make recommendations for other support networks and resources to help achieve quit smoking goals; and work with other health care providers — such as doctors, respiratory therapists and dentists — to ensure a holistic approach to quitting smoking.
“There is still so much that we can and should do,” according to Nourse. “Becoming tobacco-free is not easy and often takes numerous attempts. Consistent support and advocacy from a qualified health care professional to motivate and encourage behavioral changes related to smoking habits, while at the same time managing nicotine withdrawal symptoms, can increase the success rate of becoming tobacco-free.”
Although the number of adult and youth smokers in Canada is lower than ever before, fewer young people are starting to smoke and the nation has one of the world’s lowest smoking rates, tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in Canada, Pharmasave said. The health and economic costs associated with tobacco use in Canada — impacting individuals, caregivers, employers, the health care system and the economy in general — are estimated at $17 billion annually, including $4.4 billion in direct health care costs.