Healthy Living in the North

Free nicotine replacement therapy: double the chances, double the odds to success!

A paper entitled tobacco reduction plan held by magnets to a fridge.

Having the right tools, supports and coping mechanisms in place can help improve your overall chances of living tobacco-free.

Do you smoke or chew commercial tobacco products?

How does six months of free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), including patches, gum, inhalers, or lozenges, sound? Here is your chance, before the year ends, to access your 2019 stock of NRT and combine it with next year’s supply for optimal success.

Nicotine cravings: not all the same

When you crave tobacco, what you’re really craving is nicotine, an addictive chemical found in commercial tobacco products. NRT provides your body with clean nicotine that fulfils those cravings, without the exposure to hazardous chemicals found in commercial tobacco products.

Having the right tools, supports, and coping mechanisms in place can help improve your overall chances of living tobacco-free.

Six ways you can improve your chances of living tobacco-free:

  1. Have a plan in place. Remember: this is a lifestyle change! Plan for triggers and risky situations to help make sure you stay tobacco-free.
  2. Detox tobacco. Get rid of your tobacco product as well as ashtrays both in the house and vehicle.
  3. Have open dialogue with friends, family and coworkers. This can keep you on track.
  4. Know your cues. If you need to hold something in the absence of a cigarette, substitute it with a stick of celery, carrot, or pen.
  5. Get counselling. Evidence shows that having a counselor or peer support group is effective when it comes to quitting.
  6. Use tobacco cessation services in combination with nicotine replacement therapy and medication. This combo makes you three to four times more likely to quit.

If you want to quit or decrease your tobacco use, talk to your primary care provider (such as a doctor or nurse practitioner).

You can also access the following tobacco cessation resources below:

  • QuitNow offers free information, support, and counseling by trained professionals by phone, text, or email.
  • BC Smoking Cessation Program: Everyone in BC can access 12 weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy (gum, patch, inhaler and lozenges) per calendar year through their local pharmacy. Women who are pregnant or lactating are advised to consult with their doctor or pharmacist.
  • First Nations Health Authority benefits program offers supplementary coverage for nicotine replacement therapy.
Lindsay Willoner

About Lindsay Willoner

Originally from Ontario, Lindsay started her nursing career with Northern Health in 2006 as a public health nurse. Since then, Lindsay has branched out in a variety of leadership roles both within and outside NH, including as a public health resource nurse, working with Options for Sexual Health, community influenza contracts, BCNU stewardship, and working at the local long-term care facility. Lindsay currently works as Regional Nursing Lead for Tobacco Reduction based out of the Terrace Health Unit.


Tales from the Man Cave: World No Tobacco Day

A picture of the sun in the sky with the headline World No Tobacco Day and the subheading the sun will still shine tomorrow

Will this sunrise be the one that sees you quit tobacco?

Last year, when writing about World No Tobacco Day, I challenged you to drop the “World” and make it “Your No Tobacco Day” so that you knew exactly who’s in charge of quitting tobacco products.

I’m happy to report that a friend, and a reader of this blog, took up that challenge and successfully quit. My heart is with my friend’s family, with hopes that they may continue to live smoke free for life.

Quitting tobacco is the most difficult of tasks. There are many theories surrounding addiction. Some are brain based, centered on the mind or psyche. Some suggest that vulnerable individuals are more likely to become addicted than “normal” people. Some say we’re all addicted to something. Maybe it’s work, cleanliness, or food. Perhaps it’s control, the internet, or your own beliefs. Some research suggests there is an empty space deep within each of us that needs filling. An abyss, if you like. Others suggest that we self-medicate to reduce the pain of a stressful world.

Personally, I feel that all of these things ring true to some degree and that if you have to be addicted to something, make that one addiction something positive, like exercise. Am I correct? I don’t think it matters.

At an individual level, there is only you and the struggle you face to be free of that which harms you. There is help out there, like nicotine replacement, and informed evidence suggests that using that help improves your chances of quitting.

But, regardless of the help, the battle is yours.

Sure it’s World No Tobacco Day on May 31, but really its world with a small ”w”, your world. I hope you take up the challenge and good luck to you.

Jim Coyle

About Jim Coyle

Jim is a tobacco reduction coordinator with the men’s health program, and has a background in psychiatry and care of the elderly. In former times, Jim was director of care at Simon Fraser Lodge and clinical coordinator at the Brain Injury Group. He came to Canada from Glasgow, Scotland 20 years ago and, when not at work, Jim plays in the band Out of Alba and spends time with his family.