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Smoking Cessation

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.

How to Access

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.

What to Expect

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.

How to Prepare

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.

  1. Break it Off is aimed at helping young adults quit. It is run by Health Canada and the Canadian Cancer Society. They have a website, an app, and Quit Coaches available at 1-866-366-3667. They are on Twitter (@BreakitOffCAor @JetelaisseCA).
  2. Nicotine Anonymous runs in-person, online and telephone support groups: 1-877-879-6422
  3. The Canadian Cancer Society has 3 booklets available to download from their website. These free booklets have been reviewed by independent experts and are based on the best available science about quitting smoking:
    For Smokers Who Want to Quit
    For Smokers Who Don’t Want to Quit
    Help a Smoker Quit
  4. “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.

Ontario Residents

  • Smoker’s Helpline – The text messaging service they offer has been shown to increase quit success. Text ‘iQuit’ to 123546 to receive texts over the next 12 weeks to encourage you on your quitting journey.
    • Ontario residents are eligible to receive 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.
    • The Smokers’ Helpline also runs the First Week Challenge contest. The contest is open to residents of Ontario ages 19 and over and runs every month. Participants must not smoke for the first 7 days of each month and they could win $500. Participants also receive a coupon for $10 off a Nicorette or Nicoderm product.
  • 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.
  • Talk Tobacco is a telephone service for Indigenous communities offering culturally appropriate support and information about quitting smoking, vaping and commercial tobacco use. Call 1-833-998-8255 (TALK). Interpreter services are available in French, and 16 Indigenous Languages. https://www.smokershelpline.ca/talktobacco/about
  • The First Week Challenge contest runs every month. Participants must not smoke for the first 7 days of the month and they could win $500. All participants receive a coupon for $10 off a Nicorette or Nicoderm product. www.firstweekchallengecontest.ca

Quebec Residents

  • 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 Juul?

    Yes! Nearly all vaping products contain nicotine which is a very addictive substance. You may need support to quit vaping. The long term effects of vaping are still unknown, but vaping can cause serious lung injury even with short-term use. We can help you quit vaping. 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.

    Ontario Residents

    STOP-YAYA – The STOP with Youth and Young Adults Program is an online research program designed to support individuals 18-29 years old to quit smoking. The program offers 2 boxes of nicotine patches mailed to each eligible participant, while quantities last. It is entirely online. Participants do not need to be registered as a patient at any clinic. Register at www.stopstudy.ca

    STOP on the Net – SOTN provides 4 boxes of nicotine patches and 2 boxes of 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. https://www.nicotinedependenceclinic.com/en/stop/stop-on-the-net

    ODB – Ontario Drug Benefit covers Zyban and Champix for seniors and patients on ODSP or Ontario Works. These can be prescribed by a doctor or community pharmacist.

    Quebec Residents

    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 community pharmacist for a prescription.

    Private Insurance

    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.

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