Quitting smoking is the very best thing you can do for your health! Having said that, we all know that it is easier said than done. We all (including non-smokers) need to realize that smoking is an addiction and that quitting is not just an event but usually involves a process.

Most smokers go through “stages of change” before they eventually quit for good. These stages have been defined as:
  • Pre-contemplation: Not even considering quitting
  • Contemplation: Thinking about quitting sometime in the next 6 months
  • Preparation: Wants to quit within the next 4 weeks, and wants to prepare
  • Action: Has quit within the last month and is learning to cope without cigarettes
  • Maintenance: Has been smoke-free for over 6 months and wants to stay that way

It is a major step for a smoker to move from one stage to the next, as it is another step towards being smoke-free. A positive attitude is a recipe for success and is required all along the way. For example, most smokers who try to quit relapse at least once before quitting for good. This event must be viewed as an opportunity to identify the “trigger” that caused the relapse, and to address that situation on the next quit attempt.

Medications Options


Nicotine Replacement

Nicotine is the addictive substance in cigarettes, but it is the tobacco smoke containing over 200 toxins, 50 of which can cause cancer, that lead to most of the damage from smoking. Nicotine replacement therapy allows replacement of much of the nicotine, reducing the effects of withdrawal, while allowing you to become accustomed to not having cigarettes in your life. Nicotine patches keep a constant level of nicotine in your system, while nicotine gum is designed to replace cigarettes when the urge arises. When you feel ready, you should start to reduce the amount of nicotine you are using until you are able to continue without any nicotine replacement. Your Sobeys Pharmacist or doctor can discuss the nicotine replacement strategy that is best suited to your needs. Your Sobeys Pharmacist will also discuss the proper use of nicotine replacement products with you.

Bupropion (Zyban®)

Bupropion helps to reduce withdrawal effects by keeping the levels of chemicals in the brain responsible for the pleasurable effects of smoking at an increased level. This medication is available only by prescription from your doctor. Side effects may include headache, trouble sleeping and/or dry mouth. People who have had a seizure in the past, have a history of eating disorders, are taking medications known as MAO Inhibitors (such as phenelzine, tranylcypromine, moclobemide, selegiline) or who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take this medication.

Champix (varenicline tartrate)

Champix (varenicline tartrate) is thought to help control cravings and withdrawal symptoms in two opposite ways: it acts as a weaker version of nicotine at the same receptor sites, and because it binds more strongly to those sites, it essentially blocks the effects of nicotine. This medication is only available with a doctor’s prescription and common side effects include nausea/vomiting, gas, constipation, trouble sleeping, abnormal dreams and headache. In rare instances, severe effects on mood may occur. Please discuss with your doctor if Champix is right for you.

Ready to quit?

Schedule a smoking cessation consultation today!

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Frequently Asked Questions


During the complimentary clinic, our Certified Tobacco Educators (CTEs) will:

  • Discuss practical tips and advice to reduce/quit tobacco
  • Develop personalized quit plans to help stop smoking
  • Conduct age progression on long term effects of smoking with age using April Age software
  • Offer BC smoking cessation program for nicotine replacement

The benefits of quitting are numerous:

  • You'll remove harmful second-hand smoke from the inhaled air of friends and relatives.
  • You'll reduce the risk of heart attack in 24 hours, cut it in half within 1 year and become the same as someone who has ever smoked within 15 years.
  • Within five years, the risk of death due to lung cancer is almost cut in half.
  • Within 5 to 15 years, the risk of stroke is reduced to that of someone who has never smoked.
  • Circulation improves and walking becomes easier within two weeks to three months.
  • Smoker's cough disappears within one to nine months.
  • Sense of taste and sense of smell will improve.
  • You will have more energy.
  • You will be in control, instead of the cigarettes.
  • You'll have more money.

Evidence has shown that matching strategies to the smoker’s current stage of change, results in the best chance of eventually quitting for good. For example, if a smoker is in the “pre-contemplation” stage they require motivation from within and education about why it is important to quit smoking. Information should be offered, but being too pushy will just result in a push back and further denial or rationalization. On the other hand, a person who wants to quit within a month is motivated and wants to quit soon. In this case, barriers to quitting must be addressed to make the chances of success as high as possible. Lozenges are now available as a form of nicotine replacement.

More Resources


Canadian Cancer Society
Smoker’s Helpline 1-877-513-5333

Lung Association of Canada
Phone: (613) 569-6411
Website: www.lung.ca/smoking

Canadian Health Network
Website: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

Physicians for a smoke-free Canada
Website: www.smoke-free.ca