- Why should I quit smoking?
Tobacco kills 1/3 to 1/2 of all people who use it an average of 15 years prematurely.
The benefits of quitting smoking start immediately:
• Within 8 hours oxygen levels in your body go back to normal
• Within 48 hours the chances of having a heart attack go down and your sense of smell and taste start to improve
• Within 72 hours your lungs relax making it easier to breathe
• Within 2 weeks to 3 months the blood flow through your body and air flow through your lungs get better
• Within 6 months coughing, tiredness, sinus congestion and shortness of breath all improve
The benefits of quitting smoking continue for life:
• Within 1 year the risk of a heart attack from smoking drops to half of that of someone who still smokes
• Within 10 years the chances of dying from lung cancer drops to half of that of someone who still smokes
• Within 15 years the risk of dying from a heart attack becomes the same as a person who has never smoked
- What if I’m not ready to quit?
One can always find a reason why now is not the right time to quit. But the reasons to quit, including damage to one’s health, never go away and continue to cause harm as time goes on. Life will always have stress. Quit now and you will reap the benefits sooner!
- What if I have depression or anxiety? Won’t it get worse if I quit smoking?
Evidence has shown that depression and anxiety improve with smoking cessation. Although nicotine may cause a short-term elevation in mood due to the release of dopamine in the brain, nicotine is a stimulant and can actually worsen feelings of anxiety and low mood, and increase stress levels. When someone is smoking daily they experience withdrawal symptoms regularly throughout the day, which affect mood. Irritability, negative mood and anxiety are common withdrawal symptoms, and may be misinterpreted as depressive symptoms among individuals who smoke or who are making a quit attempt. These symptoms can be reduced or eliminated when quitting with medication support or nicotine replacement therapy.
- Can I contact the Smoking Cessation Program for help quitting vaping or another nicotine-containing product?
Yes! Nicotine is a very addictive substance. You may need support to quit these product. The long term effects of newer products are still unknown, but vaping can cause serious lung injury even with short-term use. We can help you quit. Please contact the clinic to set up an appointment.
- Why should I work with a smoking cessation specialist? I can quit on my own.
The success rate for people quitting on their own is 5% at 1 year. Over 75% of unaided quit attempts fail within 7 days. Having the support of a smoking cessation counsellor triples your chance of success and counselling combined with medication or nicotine replacement therapy increases your success rate 6 times!
- How was this Program developed?
Our Smoking Cessation Program is structured around the University of Ottawa Heart Institute’s Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation in Primary Care. This Model has been proven to help people quit smoking and involves a common approach to:
- Identify patients’ smoking status at clinic visits
- Advise patients on strategies to quit smoking
- Provide assistance with quitting
- Ensure follow-up counselling to help patients stay smoke-free
Visit the University of Ottawa Heart Institute’s website for more information: https://ottawamodel.ottawaheart.ca/about-omsc
- I have a friend who is looking to quit smoking. Can they access this program?
Our smoking cessation program is only available to people with a primary care provider at BWFHT. We have listed some great programs below, and find more information in the resources section above.
STOP on the Net – SOTN provides an 8 week supply of nicotine patches and nicotine gum or lozenges delivered to your home. Participants that enroll will NOT be eligible to enroll in our regular STOP Program for 12 months and vice versa. Internet access is required for enrolment. www.stoponthenet.com
The Ottawa Model for Smoking Cessation (OMSC) Community Program is for Ontarians who want to quit smoking but are not enrolled with a health care provider or cannot easily access smoking cessation support. Eligible participants will receive a consultation, follow-up support, and nicotine replacement therapy. Call 1-888-645-5405 and leave your contact information on the voicemail. A Nicotine Addiction Specialist will get back to you within 2 business days. https://ottawamodel.ottawaheart.ca/community ODB – Ontario Drug Benefit covers Zyban and Champix for seniors and patients on ODSP or Ontario Works. Your doctor or pharmacist can prescribe them.
RAMQ covers up to 12 weeks of nicotine patches and 840 units of gum or lozenges annually with a prescription. Zyban and Champix are also covered. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a prescription.
Aboriginal Canadians can receive nicotine replacement products, Champix, and Zyban through the national drug plan. Your doctor or pharmacist can prescribe them.
If you have private insurance, call to check your coverage. Zyban and Champix are often covered and nicotine patches may be covered with a prescription. Or, you may be able to use your Health Care Spending Account. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a prescription.
- Is ‘unsmoke.ca’ a helpful resource?
No. Unsmoke is run by the tobacco company Phillip Morris. It is a marketing ploy to keep customers by encouraging them to switch to electronic cigarettes (vaping products) or heated tobacco products (iQOS, TEEPS) rather than quitting tobacco. The intent is to make profit; it is an advertising campaign disguised as a tool to help people quit smoking. It is misleading and fails to communicate the risks associated with using these products and their addictive properties.
Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your health. At our clinic it is a priority to help patients quit smoking, vaping, and other tobacco products (Juul, iQOS, etc.)
Patients with a primary care provider at our clinic can book an appointment with a smoking cessation specialist for an in-depth conversation about strategies to quit or reduce their use of these products. Smoking cessation medication can be provided, often at no cost, to help increase the chances of a successful quit. Follow-up appointments are an important part of the program to help patients get through the quitting process.
All patients with a primary care provider at BWFHT can access our Smoking Cessation program. You may ask your physician or nurse practitioner to refer you, or self-refer by calling the clinic to request an appointment with one of our smoking cessation counselors (613) 564-3950.
Our clinical pharmacists are the BWFHT smoking cessation counsellors. They are trained in smoking cessation counselling to provide non-judgemental support, positive encouragement, and accountability through the quitting process. The counsellor will work with you to tailor a specific quit plan suited to your needs. Counselling includes discussion around triggers, cravings, habits, and associations with smoking, and working with you to develop personalized strategies to manage and overcome them.
The counsellor can offer drug therapy to assist with smoking cessation, as appropriate, including Champix and Zyban. Most patients are eligible for free nicotine replacement therapy through our clinic via the STOP Program (Smoking Treatment for Ontario Patients) which includes patches, gum, lozenges and/or inhalers. The counsellor will follow up with you on a regular basis to check in on your progress, adjusting doses and making changes as necessary to find a treatment strategy that is effective for you with minimal side effects and withdrawal symptoms.
No specific preparation is required before your appointment with the smoking cessation counselor. However, you may find it beneficial to reflect on your smoking and routine in the days before your appointment. Are certain habits, activities or people linked to your smoking? You may also find it helpful to let family members or friends know about your intention to explore quitting smoking so they can support you.
- The Canadian Cancer Society has 3 booklets available to download from their website. These booklets have been reviewed by independent experts and are based on the best available science about quitting smoking:
- One Step at a Time: You Can Quit
- One Step at a Time: Help Someone Quit
- For Smokers Who Don’t Want to Quit
2. Nicotine Anonymous runs in-person, online and telephone support groups: 1-877-879-6422
3. “Easy Way to Stop Smoking” by Allen Carr – Many people have found this book helpful for quitting smoking. It is available at local libraries and bookstores.
4. Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse: CCSA works with its partners to address issues related to substance use and addiction that affect the health and safety of Canadians.
- Smoker’s Helpline – This is a free, confidential service operated by the Canadian Cancer Society offering support and information about quitting smoking, vaping and tobacco use. They offer phone counselling, texting and an online community. The text messaging service has been shown to increase quit success. Text ‘iQuit’ to 123546 to sign up.
You can request a trial pack of 2 Nicoderm Step 1 patches (21 mg), a sleeve of 4 mg Nicorette gum, and a discount coupon for $10 off the purchase of any two participating products. To register, visit http://SmokersHelpline.ca/trialoffer, or call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or TTY 1-866-797-0007.
- Talk Tobacco This service is designed to meet the need for culturally relevant, accessible and targeted tobacco and vaping cessation services for First Nation, Inuit, Métis and urban Indigenous communities. Talk Tobacco has been designed with input and guidance from Indigenous leaders, partners, community members and health care providers. Cessation services by phone, online chat, and text are free and confidential. Call 1-833-998-8255 (TALK). Interpreter services are available in French, and 16 Indigenous Languages. https://www.smokershelpline.ca/talktobacco/home
- MyQuit services are available through Eastern Ontario. They will connect you with a coach. They also have an online interactive self-directed quit program and community. Contact MyQuit.ca or call 1-877-376-1701.
- I Quit Now Helpline – Call or email to reach a smoking cessation specialist. 1-866-527-7383 https://tobaccofreequebec.ca/iquitnow/phone-help
- SMAT (Short Messages Against Tobacco) Receive text or Facebook Messenger messages for up to 24 weeks. Text messaging has been shown to increase quit success. Register online or by texting “SMAT” to 20202. It is linked with the I Quit Now Helpline so you can speak with someone if needed. https://www.smat.ca/en
- Quit Smoking Centres Several CLSCs and Family medicine groups (GMFs) provide support to people who want to quit smoking. https://cisss-outaouais.gouv.qc.ca/language/en/accessing-a-service/care-and-services-in-the-community/smoking-cessation-centre-stop-smoking/
- Défi j’arrête, j’y gagne Win a trip or cash prize! https://defitabac.qc.ca/fr/le-defi/prix-et-gagnants