Quitting smoking


Tobacco continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and disease, with 50% of smokers dying of smoking-related disease. Working with medical health officers, communities, non-governmental organizations and Fraser Health employees, the Tobacco Reduction Program works to:

  • Prevent access to and use of tobacco product by young people
  • Promote quitting by young people and adults
  • Reduce residents exposure to second hand smoke
  • Identify and reduce the inequalities related to smoking and tobacco use and effects in different population groups
  • Address smoking rates through specific programs

Services and resources to help you quit


  • Get support from family, friends and Quit Now services
  • Set a quit date
  • Talk to a doctor or pharmacists about nicotine replacement therapy
  • List your reasons for quitting smoking
  • Think about when and why your smoke and find other ways to deal with those situations
  • Consider giving up alcohol for the first three weeks after you quit
  • If you feel the urge to smoke, do something else to keep busy
  • Get rid of your cigarettes, ashtrays and avoid being with other people who smoke
  • It can take several tries to quit... don't give up, you can do it!

Smoking cessation aids

There are a number of popular nicotine replacement therapies and medications to help individuals quit smoking.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Method About Possible adverse side effects
Nicotine patch
  • Easiest to use
  • Good for heavier smokers who need constant nicotine
  • Can take up to three hours to take effect
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women should remove at night
  • May cause insomnia (if so, remove patch at night and reapply in the morning)
  • Skin rash (make sure to rotate location daily)
Nicotine gum
  • Good for occasional smokers who want to manage cravings
  • Can be used with the patch when needed
  • Not like normal gum - you must use the correct bite, park method described in the instructions
  • Nicotine is slowly released into the mouth and reaches your brain faster than with the patch
  • Can be used to reduce-to-quit, substituting gum for cigarettes
  • One piece per hour is common fora pack-a-day smoker
  • Maximum dose is 20 gum/day
  • Avoid coffee, tea, soft drinks or citrus juices while chewing the gum as they can reduce nicotine absorption
  • Can cause jaw pain
  • Stomach discomfort, heartburn, nausea, hiccups, oral discomfort
Nicotine lozenge
  • Can be used with the patch when needed
  • Good if you have dentures or missing teeth
  • May be a good choice for those who don't need a steady dosage of nicotine all the time but need support to manage cravings
  • In the form of hard candy which releases nicotine as it dissolves in the mouth
  • Do not bite, swallow or chew the lozenge
  • Maximum dose is 15 lozenges per day
  • Do not eat or drink 15 minutes before using the lozenge or while it is in your mouth
  • Contains phenylalanine - advise your doctor if you have phenylketonuria.
  • Some lozenge users experience soreness in the gums and teeth, irritated throats, hiccups and heartburn/indigestion
Nicotine inhaler
  • A plastic cigarette shaped cartridge which contains nicotine
  • Delivers a steady dose of nicotine in the body to reduce nicotine cravings
  • Fastest way to deliver nicotine
  • Mimics cigarette smoking
  • One cartridge can replace four cigarettes
  • Avoid coffee, tea, soft drinks and citrus juices while using the inhaler as they reduce nicotine absorption
  • Irritation of the mouth lining, runny nose, upset stomach


Always discuss your medical history with your doctor before using these drugs.

Name About Possible adverse side effects
Bupropion (Zyban, Wellbutrin)
  • Available only by prescription
  • Originally an antidepressant but later found to be effective to help stop smoking
  • Treatment begins while you are still smoking, one week before your quit date
  • May be a good choice if you prefer an alternative to nicotine replacement, or if you have not been able to quit on traditional nicotine replacement therapies
  • Not recommended for people with medical conditions such as seizures, eating disorders and who are using certain other medications
  • Insomnia, dry mouth
Varneicline (Champix)
  • Available only by prescription
  • Approved for use in Canada in 2007
  • Blocks nicotine receptors in the brain, making smoking less satisfying - also mimics the effects of nicotine to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms
  • Treatment begins while you are still smoking about one week before your planned quit date
  • The safety and effectiveness of taking Varencline with traditional nicotine replacement therapies is unknown
  • Not recommended for anyone under 18
  • Stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, vivid dreams, constipation, flatulence
  • People attempting to quit smoking with Varencline should be watched for serious neuropsychiatric symptoms including changes in behavior, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal ideation and suicidal behavior

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