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Kicking the Habit: Good Day Pharmacy Helps Coloradans Quit Smoking

Colorado pharmacists are now authorized to dispense safe and effective tobacco cessation medications without a doctor visit.

With recent legislation that allows Colorado pharmacists to prescribe pills, patches, inhalers and nasal sprays, Good Day Pharmacy is paving the way in Northern Colorado to help Colorado residents quit smoking. Establishing a smoking cessation program by the end of 2018 was a goal of Northern Colorado-based Good Day Pharmacy, and it’s kicking into full swing just in time for 2019 New Year’s resolutions.

Since approximately 5,100 Coloradans die each year from tobacco-related health conditions (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Good Day Pharmacy wishes to assist any person who wants to quit smoking tobacco, and positively impact their health. Karly Bergquist, PharmD, and pharmacy resident at Good Day Pharmacy says “Quitting smoking has many benefits on your entire body. After 48 hours of quitting, your breathing becomes drastically easier and taste returns. Only one year after you quit, you will decrease your risk of heart attack, stroke and heart disease to less than half of that of a smoker.”

This is an important program of which smokers should take advantage. The most effective and successful way to quit smoking is a combination of medication therapy and behavioral change. Trained pharmacists are experts in counseling on smoking cessation products, and also trained on motivational counseling to change patients’ habits. “The average smoker makes about 20 attempts until they are successful. Pharmacists are one of the most accessible healthcare providers and will be able to provide consistent support and can make quick changes to therapy when needed,” said pharmacist Karly Bergquist. The statewide protocol further increases access and simplifies the process by allowing pharmacies to dispense anti-smoking medications without patients having to visit a doctor first in order to obtain a prescription. Vicki Einhellig, a pharmacist and president of Good Day Pharmacy says, “Qualified Colorado pharmacists will be able to provide patients with a smoking cessation therapy that best fits their lifestyle. This includes patches, gum, oral prescription medication options, nasal sprays and inhalers, and it is covered by some insurances and Medicaid. It is a well planned program that follows state protocol and regulations.”

Adults who want an anti-smoking prescription for an anti-smoking oral medication, nasal spray or inhalers will have to complete a medical history and provide information including what they have already tried to quit smoking. The individualized treatment program provides the initial consultation appointment where treatment options are discussed and medications are dispensed, on-going support by the pharmacist, and a follow up consultation two weeks later.

Quitting smoking has many benefits that greatly impact health, and it can help prevent many diseases.

· 8 hours after quitting – carbon monoxide and oxygen levels in blood return to normal

· 1 day after quitting – the likelihood of a heart attack decreases

· 2 days after quitting – nerve endings regenerate; sense of smell and taste are enhanced

· 2 weeks after quitting – circulation improves and lung function increases

· 1-9 months after quitting – coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decreases

· 1 year after quitting – the likelihood of heart attack, heart disease, and stroke is cut in half

· 5 years after quitting – stroke risk is reduced to the same levels as a non-smoker

· 10 years after quitting – risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a current smoker

To access this program in Northern Colorado, residents 18 years and older should visit or contact their nearest Good Day Pharmacy to find out how to get started.