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
Local Family Physician
Dr. Milan Khara, MBChB, CCFP,ABAM, discusses The Harmful Effects of Smoking
Dr. Milan Khara, MBChB, CCFP,ABAM, discusses what medications help smoke cessation.
So for smokers who are planning to make a quit attempt, we really encourage a strategic plan.
The plan can include looking at the environment. For example, do those around them smoke, do they go on smoke breaks on work? If the environment is going to be unfriendly to a quit attempt then you need to change the environment.
The second element that we really want the smoker to consider is behavior. So if there are many behaviors that are associated with their smoking then you may need to shift those behaviors around a little.
For example, if you smoke when you drink on a Saturday night then we would encourage – at least in the short term – to maybe not drink on the Saturday night.
And the third component we like to see in a planned quit attempt is the use of a medication. So whether that’s nicotine patches or a prescription medication, there’s a whole variety of options. Those products tend to improve the likelihood of success.
Quitting smoking for some people certainly is very difficult, and though we’ve traditionally viewed this as a habit or a lifestyle choice, certainly from a medical perspective we see this as a bonafide or a true addiction disorder. But we see it as a disorder that is eminently treatable.
We have approaches that help people to quit smoking. Anybody making a quit attempt really should reach out for support. Whether that support is from a healthcare professional, and that can be a pharmacist or a family doctor, or whether that support is from a family member or a current smoker who’s making a quit attempt alongside them, support is a really valuable element of a quit plan.
Featuring Dr. Milan Khara, MBChB, CCMF, Mari
The numbers that relate to tobacco use are actually staggering.
This still is the number one preventable cause of death and disease globally and if you look at the number of people that die worldwide today, that’s five million per year tobacco attributable deaths and very soon probably by around 2030, that will be around ten million tobacco attributable deaths worldwide, and a number of deaths arising particularly in the developing world.
Most smokers understand that tobacco use is harmful but they often underestimate the magnitude of risk. We all know about lung cancer, those who smoke have a twenty-fold increase risk of lung cancer.
We know that lung cancer the number one cancer killer in the world ninety percent of lung cancer cases is attributable to tobacco smoke. But, its not just about lung cancer, a whole variety of malignancies we can attribute to tobacco use and certainly, we know that those who smoke are at a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular events.
Stroke and heart attack, three to four times more likely in smokers and we also know that smokers are at a vastly increased risk to developing COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. One in two of all smokers will die prematurely as a consequence of their tobacco use and the average loss of life is thought to be something in the region of ten to fifteen years.
There is a variety of places you can go to get support and advice for smoking cessation whether you see a pharmacist, the practice nurse or your family doctor, the kinds of support that are out there will increase the likelihood of success.
And, whether that help is using a smoking cessation medication, for example the patch or the gum or one of the prescription medications or whether its receiving some counseling support, some advice, some strategic planning around the quit attempt, or best of all a combination of both, that approach will be beneficial in terms of increasing the likelihood of success.
Featuring Dr. Milan Khara, MBChB, CCFP, ABAM Now Health Network
Dr. Milan Khara, MBChB, CCFP,ABAM, discusses How to Successfully Quit Smoking