Thinking of Quitting Smoking? Your Pharmacist Can Help

Pharmacists play an important role in assessing patient medications and dosages during smoking cessation

TORONTO, Jan. 17 /CNW/ - Consulting a pharmacist, or other healthcare professional, when quitting smoking boosts a patient's chance of long-term success from three per cent to 30 per cent1. The 34th annual National Non-Smoking Week is taking place from January 16 to 22 and the Ontario Pharmacists' Association wants to remind Ontarians their pharmacist can help them quit successfully.

According to a recent Ipsos Reid poll, pharmacists are the most trusted professionals. "As experts in medication management, pharmacists are also among the most accessible healthcare professionals," said Dennis Darby, CEO of the Ontario Pharmacists' Association. "They are readily available to provide advice and information to patients who want to quit smoking."

Through consultation, pharmacists can identify each patient's unique needs and help determine the option that is right for them - whether it's an over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy such as a gum, patch, lozenge or inhaler; or a prescription medication. Pharmacists counsel patients on the appropriate use of the treatment and what to expect, including potential side effects and how to manage them. They can also follow up with the patient regularly to see how they are progressing.

People who smoke have another good reason to consult their pharmacist. Medical conditions such as heart disease, blood pressure, diabetes and stomach disorders can be harder to manage in a patient who smokes.

"We all know smoking is bad for us, but what many patients do not know is that tobacco use can impact the effectiveness of many medications and cause adverse reactions to drugs," said Janet McCutchon, Chair, Ontario Pharmacists' Association.

Tobacco can affect the action of drugs by interfering with how the body absorbs, uses and eliminates certain medications, or by changing the expected response of the drug. Patients who smoke regularly are at risk of experiencing unpredictable results from some drug therapies, including insulin, and certain blood thinners and antidepressants.

Likewise, quitting smoking, with or without treatment, may affect the way a drug works. "Because tobacco increases a person's metabolism, quitting slows down the metabolism and medication levels may need to be adjusted," said McCutchon.

"Patients should advise their pharmacists of their smoking status so they can be properly monitored," continued McCutchon. "Pharmacists can provide patients with the guidance they need to develop a quit plan, manage their medication and stop smoking."

Ontarians who want to quit smoking may also be eligible for MedsCheck, a provincial program that enables patients to book a 30-minute medication review with their pharmacist at no charge. The program is available to Ontarians taking three or more prescription medications for chronic conditions; people with diabetes; residents of long-term care facilities; and those who can not travel to a pharmacy.

The Ontario Pharmacists' Association is the professional association that represents the views and interests of more than 12,000 pharmacists and pharmacists-in-training across the province. The Association works to inspire excellence in the profession and practice of pharmacy, and to promote wellness for patients.


1 Costello, MJ, Sproule, B, Victor, JC, Leatherdale, S, Zawertailo, L, Selby, P (2010) Effectiveness of pharmacist counseling combined with nicotine replacement therapy: a pragmatic randomized trial with 6,987 smokers

SOURCE Ontario Pharmacists' Association

For further information:

Julie Holroyde
Hill & Knowlton
        Deborah McNorgan
Ontario Pharmacists' Association
Tel: 416.441.0788 ext. 4266

Organization Profile

Ontario Pharmacists' Association

More on this organization

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890