Smoking Cessation


By: Brittanie Wieland, PharmD Candidate, Class of 2019, University of Iowa College of Pharmacy

Have you ever thought about quitting smoking, or have you already tried to quit smoking but have been unsuccessful?

There are immediate health benefits to quitting at any age, so why wait? 2017 can be the year you achieve a healthier lifestyle!

So, why should I quit?

More people in the United States are addicted to nicotine than to any other drug. Quitting smoking greatly reduces the risk of developing smoking-related diseases.

 How Long Until I See Results?

You’ll start to experience health benefits just hours after you quit smoking. Here’s a timeline of major health benefit milestones you’ll meet on your path to quitting smoking.

  • After 2 hours – your heart rate and blood pressure will be close to normal levels again
  • After 1 years your risk for heart disease is lowered to half that of a smoker’s
  • After 5-15 years your risk of stroke is the same of a nonsmoker
  • After 10 years your risk of lung cancer will decrease to half that of a smoker’s

Preparing Yourself to Quit

  1. Know Why You Want to Quit
  • Make a list of all the reasons you decided to quit, and refer back to this when you get the urge to smoke.
  1. Build a Support System
  • Tell your family and friends about your plans to quit
  • Ask your local pharmacist for advice and assistance about quitting.
  1. Know That You Will Struggle
  • Recognize your triggers and create a plan to deal with them. Triggers can be people, activities or places that make you feel like smoking.
  • Be prepared to handle withdrawal symptoms, such as inability to sleep, feeling anxious, restless or cranky or having trouble thinking clearly, that last a few days to a few weeks.
  1. Work with Your Pharmacist
  • Make a quit plan with help from your pharmacist
  • Discuss possible nicotine replacement products, which can reduce withdrawal symptoms and double your chance of quitting smoking for good.

Nicotine Replacement Products

A number of over-the-counter products are available such as nicotine patches, inhalers and nasal spray. There are also nicotine patches, inhalers and nasal spray available through prescriptions. Buproprion SR (Zyban®) and varenicline tartrate (Chantix®) are available as prescription non-nicotine medicines.

Helpful Resources

1-800-QUIT-NOW /

  • Quitline services are free online or telephone services for those who want to quit smoking. These services offer help with a personalized quit plan, and in most states free or discounted medications are available to some callers.


  • Smokefree text messaging programs are 6-8 week programs that provide 24/7 encouragement, advice and tips to help smokers quit and stay quit. Participants will receive 3-5 messages per day, giving you tools you need to prepare to quit and come with challenges while becoming smoke-free.

Remember that quitting is hard and slips are common, do not get discouraged and remember your main goal of quitting. Talk to your pharmacist about other tips to help make your quitting successful!

All information was taken from the CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,




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