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REF NO.: 75
SUBJECT: School of Pharmacy quit smoking program invites quitters
DATE: March 22
Memorial University’s Smoking Cessation Program is unique from other quit smoking resources currently available in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“Our program offers a combination of counselling and quit medication, as this has shown the best quit rates, and it complements other quit smoking services in the community,” said Dr. Leslie Phillips, program director, and professor, School of Pharmacy and Faculty of Medicine.
Housed in the school’s Medication Therapy Services (MTS) Clinic, the program is a resource for Memorial faculty, staff and students, as well as the larger community.
Dr. Phillips says, on average, it takes between 5-7 attempts for a person to quit smoking for good, but that every attempt brings them closer to quitting for life.
“We work with each smoker to develop an individualized quit plan that best suits their needs,” she said. “Many factors have to be considered when customizing a plan and deciding whether or not to take a quit medication, such as an individual’s past experiences and preferences, their current medical conditions and medications, and the availability of health insurance.”
She also says there is merit in taking time to prepare to quit versus quitting impulsively. Identifying triggers and habits and developing strategies to manage them and knowing how to cope with nicotine withdrawal and cravings are important components of a successful quit journey.
At 18 per cent, Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest number of cigarette smokers in the country.
To promote awareness and support others through the sharing of successful quit smoking stories, the School of Pharmacy is encouraging individuals whose lives have been improved by leaving their cigarettes in the ashes to share their experiences and photos on social media by using the hashtag #quitsmokingNL.
The dangers of smoking are well-promoted. Forty per cent of cancers in the U.S. are now linked to tobacco use.
“There is no safe level of smoking,” said Dr. Phillips. “It’s the single most preventable cause of premature death and disease in the country. Health consequences include stroke, heart disease, asthma, emphysema, cancer, sudden infant death syndrome and premature aging.”
Individuals with mental illness are more likely to smoke and to smoke more heavily because nicotine releases a feel-good chemical in the brain.
But the consequences of smoking are deadly.
“We know that quitting smoking not only prolongs life expectancy, it also reduces anxiety and depression in the long run.”
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For further information, please contact Heidi Wicks, communications advisor, School of Pharmacy, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 777-7302/749-7462 (mobile).