UAE: How special programme helped 4,300 people quit smoking over 2 years

Staff Reporter /Abu Dhabi Filed on June 1, 2021
Photo: Alamy

SEHA said its recent success rate is between 55 and 60 per cent — double the global rate of 30 per cent.

More than 4,300 people have managed to quit smoking since 2019, thanks to smoking cessation programmes organised by Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA).

The authority said smokers were encouraged to quit the habit through a specially designed programme, which is available at six facilities across its network.

The facilities are staffed by experts with extensive experience in raising awareness around the harmful effects of smoking and helping community members quit.

SEHA said its recent success rate among those enrolled in the programme is between 55 and 60 per cent — double the global rate of 30 per cent.

Dr Bushra Al Ghailani, Family Medicine Specialist, Baniyas Healthcare Center, said: “World No Tobacco Day serves as a reminder to the community of the harms of smoking, with a special message that quitting is not impossible. Today is the perfect opportunity for members of the community who smoke to make the decision to quit, seeking support from healthcare professionals and their loved ones, as they embark on the journey to better health.”

When participants are first enrolled into the programme, they begin with a consultation where a healthcare professional speaks with the new-joiner to understand their journey of smoking and explores their commitment to quitting.

The participant then undergoes examination, including an exhaled carbon monoxide test that evaluates the level of carbon monoxide (a poisonous gas that stops oxygen from reaching vital organs) in their body and that results from smoking and/or inhaling second-hand smoke.

Then, using clinical research and data, a suitable plan is developed that spans three months — including the provision of internationally-recognised and licensed medication, followed by regular check-ups.

Dr Osama Ibrahim, Family Medicine Consultant, Al Bateen Healthcare Center, said: “The key to successfully refraining from smoking is persistence, determination, and a strong will. Participants must first be entirely devoted to quitting, only then can the programme truly be beneficial. It is also important for participants to channel their energy elsewhere — for example, by exercising or starting a new hobby.”

Participants of the programme are encouraged to adopt a healthy lifestyle, and to eat fresh fruits and vegetables to help them quit smoking.

In addition, having water, ginger, spinach, broccoli, pomegranate, parsley, coriander, and green juices are helpful in reducing symptoms associated with quitting, elevating the body’s immune system, treating nerve and skin damage, raising the number of red blood cells, and strengthening magnesium levels.

Staff Reporter

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