by guest blogger Carolina Kosh, PharmD

Caroline Kosh, PharmD

Caroline Kosh, PharmD

Did you know tobacco is the number one preventable cause of death in the United States? Cigarette smoking substantially increases risk of heart attack, stroke, COPD, other respiratory illnesses (asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis), and lung cancer. 

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health and will help almost every part of your body, including lowering blood pressure, improving cholesterol, improving circulation, and improving your immune system, just to name a few. Many of my patients also loathe the stigma attached to smokers and wish their teeth and breath looked and smelled better.

The good news is that it’s never too late to quit and make a difference for your health. In just 24 hours after your last cigarette, your blood pressure returns to normal. In just two weeks to three months your heart attack risk has started to drop and your lung function begins to improve (goodbye smoker’s cough!). One year after quitting your risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s. And the list goes on!

That is why we highly encourage our patients to quit smoking. MUSC Health offers a pharmacist-led smoking cessation program which includes counseling, medications, and support through constant follow-up. Studies have shown that patients are TWICE as likely to quit by having a combination of medications and counseling. We like those odds. That’s why our program includes one-on-one sessions with our pharmacists who will talk with you about your smoking and medical history, discuss past quit attempts, help select the right therapy for you, plan for and set a quit date, and offer support and follow-up during your transition to becoming smokefree. 

We have the capability to measure carbon monoxide levels here in the office, which for many people, is eye-opening and provides motivation to make a permanent change. Many people have been successful through this program. We have a pharmacist available in several different locations who would love to talk with you. If you are ready to change your life for the better, please talk with your MUSC Health primary care provider to be enrolled in our program today.