27 people die a week due to smoking tobacco in country

27 people die a week due to smoking tobacco in country
"The numbers are not a surprise, but it's a surprise for government entities and individuals."

Abu Dhabi - While cigarettes poses the highest threat to public health, medwakh and shisha, which continue to be popular in the UAE, also pose a significant risk.



By Jasmine Al Kuttab

Published: Mon 5 Jun 2017, 8:38 PM

Last updated: Tue 6 Jun 2017, 1:03 AM

An average of 27 people die each week in the UAE due to smoking tobacco, according to the fifth World Tobacco Programme.
The new figures reveal that tobacco-related diseases and the current rate of smoking is 24.3 per cent among males and 0.8 per cent among women in the UAE.
While cigarettes poses the highest threat to public health, medwakh and shisha, which continue to be popular in the UAE, also pose a significant risk.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has thus launched a Smoking Cessation Programme to help people trying to quit the deadly habit, following World No Tobacco Day on 31 May.
Iyaad Hasan, DNP, CNP, a certified tobacco treatment specialist who leads the programme, told Khaleej Times the new figures are not surprising, since smoking tobacco is popular in the country, however, the number of deaths are certainly alarming and is thus a warning to current smokers.
"The numbers are not a surprise, but it's a surprise for government entities and individuals."
He noted that since smoking tobacco has become engrained in the Arab culture throughout history, people avoid understanding its gravity.
"We must see tobacco dependence as a chronic disease. When you talk to patients and educate them about how much of an academic it is, it becomes an eye-opener, and they want to change."
Dr Jeffrey Chapman, MD, chief of the Respiratory and Critical Care Institute, said the launch of recent initiative reflects the clinic's commitment to preventative healthcare beyond the confines of the hospital.
"Smoking is a major public health challenge and we are happy to play a greater part in reducing its prevalence, and enabling patients to take back control over their lives."
Iyaad Hassan pointed out that he has received patients that are dependent on smoking cigarettes and shisha, seeking to change their health. He thus hopes the programme will help decrease the staggering number of deaths in the country.
"Most of our patients have been Emirati men, but we have also had women. Beyond the immediate benefits that can be felt within hours of quitting, there are numerous long-term health benefits. Just one year after quitting, your risk of a heart attack drops sharply."
Hassan said that after two-to-five years of quitting the habit, the risk of stroke drops to the same level as a non-smoker.
He highlighted that the UAE government has taken strong initiatives to combat smoking, including the recent tax implementation on tobacco. He added: "If we are to be the happiest country in the world, we need to be the healthiest."
jasmine@khaleejtimes.com
 
 


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