Smoking is a drug
by tasiags on February 2, 2014 - 9:53pm
Although the Canadian smoking rate significantly decreased in the past 50 years, it is still a grave health concern as it kills 40,000 people annually and an additional 800 people annually through second-hand smoke. In fact, composed of thousands of chemicals and dozens of cancer-causing agents, "tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable illness, disability, and death", costing $29-billion annually. The article "It's time to treat smoking as an addiction", published January 26, 2014, by André Picard identifies this important health issue and proposes a possible long-term solution. The article also focuses on the reasons why people smoke, in spite of all the prevention and warnings. The main reason is simple: smoking becomes an addiction (because of the nicotine contained in tobacco).
Dr. Andrew Pipe, chief of the division of prevention and rehabilitation at the Ottawa Heart Institute, highlights a problem in the “smoking-cessation programs”. He claims that we try to help people quit smoking merely by education, which is obviously unsuccessful, and that the program itself is useless because “it is based on outdated notions”, like the weak willpower of smokers. Dr. Pipe also enumerates three therapies available to help individuals cease smoking: “nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT), bupropion, and varenicline”. NRT is the most popular, however, he states that it is ineffective because of the insufficient doses of nicotine provided. As for bupropion and varenicline, they are drugs/medications and do have minor side effects.
As a solution, he suggests that smoking cessation programs should have the same structure as “blood-pressure control programs, with prescription medication, follow-up appointments, as well as lifestyle counselling”. Dr. Pipe also asserts that a change in the type of therapy provided and, more importantly, an essential change in approach are needed. A “combination therapy using an adequate dose of NRT" with either bupropion or varenicline, like blood-pressure control programs, could possibly bring a healthier future to this problem.