November 16th is The Great American Smokeout!

Cigarettes spelling out STOP
Image Source: iStock.com/Vladographer

Each year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout event. Encourage someone you know to use this day to create a plan to quit! Quitting smoking is an important step toward a healthier life and reducing cancer risk.

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately “36.5 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the world. Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits at any age. Quitting is hard, but you can increase your chances of success with help. Getting help through counseling or medications can double or triple the chances of quitting successfully.”

A Tria Health Solution S.T.O.P. 

Stop Tobacco by Optimizing Pharmacists

Tria Health provides personalized chronic condition management (CCM) to help employers and health plans mitigate risks and control health care costs. In addition to our Pharmacy Advocate program, Specialty GuardRx and Rx Plan Protection Suite, Tobacco users impose significant excess cost to private employers. tria stop logo

Tria Health’s S.T.O.P. program has an overall 42% success rate of getting members to 90 days tobacco free! Tria pharmacists develop a personalized quit plan which helps to improve success because every smoker has unique needs. They base the plan on many factors including: level of motivation, barriers to quitting, treatment options, and more. They provide on-going support to members to ensure success.

 

Tria STOP stats

If you or someone you know are still smoking cigarettes, all of us at Tria Health encourage you to use The Great American Smokeout on November 16th to create a plan to quit!

 

Commit to Quit!

There are significant health benefits associated with quitting tobacco. Within one year of kicking the habit an individual’s risk of coronary heart disease will cut in half. What’s the magic solution to help you quit successfully?

Studies have shown:

  1. The use of approved medications for tobacco cessation doubles the likelihood of successfully quitting.
  2. The effects of medications used for tobacco cessation increase substantially when paired with behavioral intervention.

There are three FDA-approved drugs for smoking cessation: nicotine replacement therapy (gum, patch, lozenge, nasal spray, inhaler), bupropion, and Chantix. Read facts about each of these below.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT):
•  Use of NRT products approximately doubles quit rates
•  Available in many forms to fit your preferences and lifestyle
•  The patch, gum and lozenge are available over-the-counter
•  The nasal spray and inhaler are prescription only

Bupropion SR (Zyban):
•  Prescription only
•  Also an antidepressant; might be beneficial for individuals with depression

Chantix:
•  Prescription only, expensive if not covered
•  Decent success rate when taken as prescribed and well tolerated
•  Has more intolerable side effects than the other agents available

It’s important to consult your physician and/or pharmacist to help you determine the best medication option for you.

What’s the deal with e-Cigarettes?

What are electronic cigarettes? 
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) came onto the market in 2007 and are battery operated devices that deliver nicotine via vapor. These differ from the traditional cigarette as there is no tobacco in the e-cig compared to its traditional counterpart.

Great unknowns about e-cigs:

  • Long-term risks associated with the inhalation of nicotine vapor
  • Exactly how much nicotine is delivered per inhalation
  • If there is proven benefit to using these products
  • What exactly is in the e-cigarette nicotine cartridge (many of these are manufactured in China and under no quality control)

Research:
A study published in the journal of Addictive Behaviors found that people who use e-cigs in order to quit smoking either became hooked on the e-cig or go back to using traditional cigarettes.

A study published in The Lancet found no statistically significant difference concerning the use of the e-cig compared the nicotine patch in terms of smoking cessation benefits.

Faulty Reasoning:
It is believed that the use of the e-cig creates an illusion on behalf of the smoker as they think they are doing something positive for themselves. In reality, the individual is maintaining their smoking habit.  Editors of The Lancet consider the e-cig “a moral quandary”. Other researchers agree that converting millions of smokers to the e-cig won’t necessarily lead to a cleaner, healthier environment as individuals are still addicted to nicotine.

Take Home Message:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not find a therapeutic purpose or benefit to the electronic cigarette at this time.