New medication to help quit smoking

DUBAI — Physicians in the UAE are set to offer a new treatment against smoking by the holy month of Ramadan this year.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Sun 2 Sep 2007, 8:52 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 4:59 AM

The new treatment, Champix has been approved by the UAE Ministry of Health and will be made available soon because of its expected effectiveness in enabling a significant number of smokers to quit their addiction to nicotine. The UAE will be the first country in the Middle East to make the medication available.

In a survey conducted of General Practitioners’ (GPs), it was found that physicians believe that smoking is the most harmful activity to affect their patients’ long-term health, causing far more damage than lack of exercise, unhealthy diet, drinking alcohol and obesity.

“The approval of Champix is important because it treats nicotine addiction in a novel and effective way. Many people feel they want to quit and this new non-nicotine treatment is specifically designed to help people stop smoking,” said Dr Bassam Mahboub, Consultant Pulmonologist-Allergy and Immunology and Head of the National Smoking Cessation Committee.

Champix aids smoking cessation by reducing the severity of the smoker’s urge to smoke and alleviating many withdrawal symptoms from nicotine. Moreover, if a person smokes a cigarette while receiving treatment, the medicine has the potential to diminish the sense of satisfaction associated with smoking.

Smoking remains one of the major contributors to illness and early death in the region. In the Middle East, according to WHO statistics, half of adult males are smokers. With a consumption rate of 2,280 cigarettes per person per year, Kuwait ranks 19th globally in tobacco consumption while Saudi Arabia is 23rd at 2,130 per person.

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