It has been estimated that something like 17 million Americans try to “quitt smoking” each year and only about 8% succeed!

Statistical analysis has shown that the success rate is much higher if the doctor was involved in counseling and helping a person to quit. I’m not sure if any studies have been done to see if a pharmacist’s encouragement to quit produces similar results, but I am going to urge you to prepare yourself to “kick” the habit.

Let me remind you why it is so important. Smoking can either directly cause or be a major risk factor in bringing about the following: Cancers of the lung, liver, pancreas, bladder, brain, breast, and cervix. Chronic obstructive lung disease, asthma, pneumonia, and tuberculosis. Hypertension, coronary artery disease, aortic aneurysm, and stroke. Retardation of fetal growth, congenital malformations, premature births, spontaneous abortions, and sudden infant death syndrome. Peptic ulcers, osteoporosis, and premature aging. Even breathing the air in a smoke filled room is associated with higher risks of some of these conditions! If you quit, do the risks return to the same level as nonsmokers? Yes, in many cases they do. Nicotine is only one of the toxins in cigarette smoke. Other toxic chemicals include carbon monoxide, ammonia, and nitrosamines. Smoking is considered a true addiction by the US Surgeon General.

So, it is not easy to quit and although relapse is common, it should be viewed as part of the process. Most people are successful only after several attempts.

The use of patches which release nicotine into the body are often very helpful. But, programs which include counseling and behavior modification have the highest rates of lasting abstinence. You can be of service to your friends and family by helping them to confront the issue of what smoking does to their health and to those around them. Encourage them to seek professional counsel on a smoking cessation program that fits their needs. Then stick with them as encouragement from friends and family can greatly enhance their chances for success. Remember, this pharmacist is ready and willing to help.

Kicking the habit promotes “Good Health.”… lighten up… it will be good for your good health.