Sherry Damatarca: An estimated 5 million Canadians smoke, and according to a recent survey 73% say that quiting would be one of their greatest accomplishment. However, according to the Champix Smoking Survey conducted by Léger Marketing, 9 out of 10 current smokers say they've tried to quit it at least once before, but only 5% have succeeded with no external assistance.
Nicotine addiction has been compared to heroin or cocaine addiction, but now there is new health. Approved by Health Canada January, Champix, a new prescription smoking cessation treatment is now available in pharmacies across Canada. Dr. Lew Pliamm is the lecturer at the Department of Family Medicine of the University of Toronto, and he is also Founder and Medical Director of the Quit Clinic in Canadian Phase Onward. Dr. Pliamm was also an investigator in clinical trails with Champix.
Dr. Lew Pliamm: Champix has been specifically engineered to help people quit smoking. It's a brand new medicine and it's the newest thing we have against smoking. It is not like Zyban, which was an antidepressant and it doesn't contain nicotine like nicotine replacement patches or gums. It actually goes right to the nicotine receptor and it's both an agonist and an antagonist. So it partially stimulates the receptor by giving the person a sense of wellbeing, but also blocks the nicotine receptor. So if the person smokes while they are on Chimpax, they don't feel any effect, and it's actually the most effective of thing we have currently in the treatment of smoking cessation.
Sherry Damatarca: One third of Canadian smokers rate themselves as completely addicted to nicotine. How long it takes a smoker to have a cigarette after waking up can be a good indication of their level of addiction. 64% of respondents have a cigarette within a half hour of waking up, 50% of respondents admitted to smoking while they are sick, bedridden or have trouble breathing.
Dr. Lew Pliamm: Smoking is not a lifestyle decision, it may originally spread out this way, but unfortunately after a few cigarettes, the brain begins to depend on that nicotine and it begins to dictate how that person behaves. It causes the person to have certain coffee breaks just so they could have a cigarette, eat lunch with certain people where they can smoke comfortably, smoke in their car. So it begins to change their lifestyle just because of the nicotine addiction.
Sherry Damatarca: Marcel Lalonde is a former smoker of 50 years.
Marcel Lalonde: For me, dependence is two-fold. One is chemical and the other one is the habit that become related with smoking over time and you have to manage both, otherwise it would -- I guess it would be very difficult.
Sherry Damatarca: For quitting success, Champix is recommended along with smoking cessation counseling. Canadians have a number of excellent resources available to them including Health Canada's, gosmokefree.ca. Smokers looking for quiting support can also visit smokershelplineworks.ca to find a smokers helpline in a region. Sherry Damatarca reporting.