When the new year starts, one of the most commonly made resolutions is to quit smoking. A tough task for even those who have been trying for years, but one you can get help with.

Ian Fleck is a pharmacist at Prairie Sky Co-op in Weyburn. He explained he helps a number of people who are looking to kick the habit.

“The best way to quit smoking would be to come and talk to your pharmacist,” he said. “We can kind of sit and have a little chat, go over different behaviours, one of the main ones being the reasons why you smoke.”

From there, a pharmacist can go over the options available. They range from something eating carrot sticks when craving a cigarette, playing with a coin, chewing gum, nicotine replacement therapies all the way up to medications, which pharmacists can now prescribe. The variety of methods at the disposal of those looking to quit means a better chance of finding something which works for them.

For those who are looking to quit smoking, there are a number of benefits according to the provincial government.

Within eight hours, carbon monoxide levels in the body drop, along with the oxygen levels increasing. After 48 hours, the chances of having a heart attack go down, and the senses of smell and taste start to improve.

Once you reach the two weeks to the three-month stage, circulation improves, and lung function increases up to 30 percent. Within a year, the risk of smoking-related heart attack is cut in half, and within 10 years, the risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half.

Smoking is considered by many professionals to be one of the hardest addictions to quit, and relapses are a possibility. Fleck pointed out the reasons why someone may start smoking again depend entirely on the individual.

“There is never a failure,” Fleck said. “We never see that as a failure, it is a lesson learned. Obviously, there are things that you did that worked for a bit, and things that didn’t, and then we just look at that, and tweak things a bit, and figure out moving forward so next time you quit, we’re more prepared and can make the next time more successful. There’s never a failure, just lessons learned.”

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