[Did you know?]

About 10 million people participate in the American Cancer Society’s annual Great American Smokeout.

Vinh Vuongs journey to the pharmacy started in high school when he participated in a pharmacy assistant training program. Today, as a pharmacist, he is involved in patients health and safety, and is also, as he says, a detective who finds medication errors.

Q. How do pharmacists help with smoking cessation?

A. Studies have shown that patients are almost twice as likely to quit smoking when encouraged by a clinician, such as a pharmacist. By applying their training to each smoking cessation consult, Sams Club Pharmacists provide information ranging from lifestyle modifications to medication options. Furthermore, pharmacists can identify and refer high-risk patients or those with certain medical conditions to their primary care physicians, as well as consult with physicians to select the appropriate therapy for each individual.

Q. What kind of smoking cessation training do Sams Club Pharmacy Managers receive?

A.All Sams Club Pharmacy Managers receive extensive training in smoking cessation therapies and are certified to provide smoking cessation counseling.

Q. What medications are available to help people who want to quit?

A. Over-the-counter options include nicotine patches, lozenges and gum. Prescription therapies include bupropion, varenicline, nicotine inhalers and nicotine nasal sprays. All are recommended as effective options; however, side effects may occur. Patients should consult their physicians before attempting pharmacological smoking cessation therapies.

Q. Why is it so important to quit smoking?

A. Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. It has been linked to lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and more. I had a patient come into the Pharmacy to compare over-the-counter smoking cessation therapies. One afternoon, during his cigarette break, he saw his 7-year-old son pause while riding his bicycle to take a puff of his albuterol inhaler. The patient realized that he was partially responsible for his sons asthma. That incident led him to want to quit. It’s important to remember that you’re not just quitting for yourself; you’re quitting for your loved ones, too.