Woman breaking cigarette

Services and resources to help you quit.

Tobacco continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and disease, with 50 per cent 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

  • QuitNow services
    Call QuitNow at 1-877-455-2233 for free and confidential help in quitting smoking. Available 24/7 and in 130 different languages, QuitNow offers assistance through specially-trained care coaches who provide support, guidance and information on nicotine replacement therapies. QuitNow.ca is an interactive, online quit smoking service. In addition to an online community of peer support, it provides expert advice on quitting strategies. 
  • B.C. Smoking Cessation Program
    The B.C. Smoking Cessation Program helps people stop smoking or using other tobacco products by assisting them with the cost of smoking cessation aids. The program is open to B.C. residents. It covers select prescription smoking cessation drugs as benefits under PharmaCare. You should schedule an appointment with your doctor first to discuss if this is the best choice for you. Select non-prescription nicotine replacement therapy products (NRTs) are provided at no cost. You can register for NRT coverage through HealthLink BC at 8-1-1. You may also want to talk to your doctor or pharmacist first before deciding whether you should take NRT products. 
  • Quit4Life
    Are you a teen looking to quit? Quit4Life is a four-week, interactive, and personalized web program which will help you learn about why you smoke, how to quit and how to stay smoke free once you get there.

Tips

  • Get support from family, friends and QuitNow 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 you 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 and 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 for a pack-a-day smoker

  • Maximum dose is 20 gum per 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, heartburn, or 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

Medication

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

Varencline (Champix)

  • Available only by prescription

  • 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 behaviour, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal ideation and suicidal behaviour