Tobacco smoking is the practice of burning tobacco and ingesting the smoke that is produced. The smoke may be inhaled, as is done with cigarettes, or simply released from the mouth, as is generally done with pipes and cigar. Smoking is a practice in which a substance is burned and the resulting smoke is breathed in to be tasted and absorbed into the bloodstream.
Loading the player...The Harmful Effects of Smoking Dr. Milan Khara, MBChB, CCFP, ABAM, discusses The Harmful Effects of Smoking
Loading the player...Why is Smoking Addictive? Dr. Milan Khara, MBChB, CCFP, ABAM, discusses why smoking is addictive.
Loading the player...What Medications Help Smoking Cessation? Dr. Milan Khara, MBChB, CCFP,ABAM, discusses what medications help smoke cessation.
Loading the player...Informing Your Doctor You Smoke Dr. Milan Khara, MBChB, CCFP,ABAM, discusses Informing Your Doctor You Smoke
The evidence tells us that when people use smoking cessation medications they’re more likely to be successful in quitting. There are three main classes to smoking cessation medications. The first is the nicotine replacement therapies, also known as thes. The nicotine replacement therapies consist of a patch, the gum, the lozenge, the inhaler and we also have an oral spray as well.
It’s a good approach to smoking cessation, and all are available over the counter and the evidence suggests that if you use one of those products, you’ll approximately double the likelihood of success compared to using nothing.
The second smoking cessation medication class is the antidepressants, in fact, of which there is only one and that is bupropion. Bupropion started out in life as an antidepressant and was noticed serendipitously to increase the likelihood of quitting smoking and again, the evidence suggests that this will approximately double your likelihood of success when compared to using nothing. So, bupropion is a good agent that we still use.
And, the last class of smoking cessation medications is a medication called verenicline. This is the newest smoking cessation medication that has been available since 2007 and the way that this works is that the verenicline molecule goes into the brain and lands in the same receptor where nicotine from the cigarette would land and essentially fools the bran into believing that it doesn’t need to see the nicotine from a cigarette.
So, there is a menu of options available when we think about the choices of smoking cessation medications. In fact, sometimes it may be wise to use a combination with more than one of these products. It’s valuable to discuss with a healthcare professional, which may be the best option for you. Often seeing a local family physician or a physiotherapist in conjunction with a registered dietitian and athletic therapist is a great option to take control of this condition. Smart Food Now and exercise is also optominal for overall health.
When we talk about smoking as an addiction, really what we are referring to is the changes that occur in the pleasure centers of the brain. We know that when people deliver nicotine from the cigarette to their brain, very quickly we see a change in receptive types and receptive numbers. And, that’s why we could think of this as a true addictive disorder.
We also know that in those individuals that have become addicted, when they don’t smoke, they go into a very predictable withdrawal syndrome. For example, irritability, anxiety, low mood, changes in appetite, etc, etc. So, tobacco withdrawal for many of those who smoke can be reasonably unpleasant and in fact is one of the main obstacles to success in quitting smoking.
We know that withdrawal symptoms actually start within a couple of hours of the last cigarette. Those symptoms tend to peak at around two or three days, but the vast majority of withdrawal is done within two to four weeks, though many will say that the craving can persist intermittently actually for years.
But, it is the medications that we use that can help to eliminate some of those symptoms of withdrawal and can help to navigate somebody through those first couple of weeks when they are most vulnerable to relapse.
Those who quit smoking will sometimes report craving intermittently for a really prolong period, maybe even for years. And one of the keys is to making changes in the lifestyle that go along with becoming smoke-free, so removing the trigger situations, incorporating more exercise, eating more healthily. This kind of approach will protect the ex-smoker from relapse.
So for those who are struggling with smoking cessation there are a number of resources available for them. Reaching out to a healthcare professional, whether that’s a physician, or a pharmacist or again incorporating support from family members or others who are attempting to quit smoking could be a really effective way to improve the likelihood of success.