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Quit smoking

Smokers' room more no may see more with UAE banning smoking the public places, the region in productivity in the workplace Ė if can fully smokers successful quit. Restaurants, universities and business premises. But the implementation is not done in one-fell swoop the legislation is being introduced in phases which provide people enough time to quit smoking, and businesses to put up signs and introduce new processes and policies.

Quit successfully
The sad reality is, less than five percent of smokers are able to quit successfully, without any help or support. This statistic from WHO is quite an eye-opener. Nicotine truly poses a huge challenge with its addictive factor. It s only about 0.6 3.0 percent of the dry weight of tobacco yet when it gets a hold of you, it hangs for life. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, it is indeed one of the hardest addictions to break. The good news is the UAE does not leave the smokers out in the cold. Aside from the grace period the staggered implementation the UAE has also pushed forward a number of solutions to help smokers quit the habit. First, they approved the prescription of Champix. With this act, the UAE became the then it comes to illness and early death; smoking is still one of the major culprits in the Middle East region.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, half of adult males in the Middle East are smokers. With 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. In total, the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as a whole spend USD 800 million per year on tobacco.

And surprisingly, 31 percent of those smokers agree that they are less productive in the workplace because of their habits, compared to their non-smoking colleagues, a belief that is shared by almost 50 percent of employers. The Global Workplace Survey shows that the average smoker smokes 8-10 cigarettes per day, which takes an average of half an hour in total. When calculated on a calendar year, this equates to approximately 17 working days just over three weeks lost per year, per smoker; a loss that can be rectified if the GCC continues with its plan of banning smoking in the workplace as well.

So far, the Dubai Municipality wants the smoking ban to be uniform in all enclosed spaces including shopping malls, cafes, first country in the Middle East and Africa to approve the prescription of the non-nicotine treatment. Since its introduction in the UAE in September 2007, Champix has become one of the most effective treatments provided to patients looking to quit smoking.

Champix's generic name is varenicline - a prescription pill which reduces the severity of the smoker s urge to smoke and alleviates many withdrawal symptoms from nicotine. Aside from that, it also reduces the satisfaction a smoker gets from smoking. It sounds quite impressive especially when the results of clinical trials are factored in: 44 percent of patients treated with the pill over a period of 12 weeks were able to quit successfully. And people who continued using the drug for 24 weeks had a higher abstinence rate of 70 percent as opposed to 50 percent of those who only took it for 12 weeks.

The UAE has also been putting up more smoke cessation clinics across the region in partnership with Novartis Consumer Health. This comes after a study conducted by researchers at the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta and RTI International in North Carolina (USA) which shows that tobacco cessation programmed are closely associated with rapid decline in adult smoking. The clinics give the patients support, mentoring and nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) which help them quit the stick. This method has proven effective for adults 25 years old and above.

For younger smokers, the government might only need to raise the price of tobacco and cigarettes. Dr Wedad Al Maidoor, Head of the Smoking Cessation  Committee, Ministry of Health, disclosed that smokers between 18-24 years old are more affected by costs of their habits than anything else.

Employer's aid
Ninety-three percent of employers questioned in the survey believe that smoking is not injurious to health.
When it comes to illness and early death, smoking is still one of the major culprits in the region. According to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, half of adult males in the Middle East are smokers. With 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.

In total, the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as a whole spend SD 800 million per year on Tobacco acceptable in the workplace, a belief which is also shared by majority (71 percent) of smoker employees. But no matter if it s inappropriate in the workplace and no matter if it s important to encourage smokers to help them successfully quit their habit, only 40 percent of employers believe that it is their responsibility to give support to their smoker-employees. Most of them think that it is enough to put the smoking ban in place.

The rest is up to their employees. However, 86 percent of employees surveyed said that despite the new workplace legislation, the smoking ban alone is not effective in making them quit smoking. Only a quarter of the smoker-employees say that they are affected by the ban. The most the legislation does is to force 62 percent of them to scamper off to find new smoking grounds.

It was found that 48 percent of employees would like help from their employers in the form of counseling and 26 percent think they should be helped through subsidies for smoking cessation products. This need is further underlined by the statistics we cited earlier: only five percent of smokers who use their willpower alone will be successful in quitting.

According to another survey conducted by the Al Kharj Military hospital among their staff, most smokers who try to quit and fail usually attribute it to social pressure and spending time in the presence of friends who are also smokers. This is true for 44 percent of smokers in the hospital. Twenty-three of those surveyed went back to smoking to avoid withdrawal symptoms while 28 percent weren't able to identify any specific reason for failing. The average number of attempts or this group was six times per person.

It does seem that support is one thing that smokers need. It can be with the help of other families, friends or employers. Cessation clinics is one way to go and the use of prescription pills is another.

But no matter what action the smoker takes, his steps out of the smoker s room will help clean quitting is usually not something that you would proudly announce to the world unless it's a bad habit like smoking. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the hardest to do. If you're finding it difficult, seek help. Keep in mind, only five percent of those who decide to go on willpower alone succeed. Here are a few alternatives for you to finally kick that habit: Boots head over to the nearest Boots branch and ask your Boots pharmacist for expert advice on what can help you give up smoking for good. This service is part of the asked your Boots Pharmacist campaign which started off early this year.

Champix approved by the UAE Ministry of Health, this alternative to the ciggy has proven to be effective in helping smokers quit their addiction to nicotine. The UAE is the first country in the Middle East to make the medication available to its residents.

Smoking cessation clinics the UAE Ministry of Health already operates a number of smoking cessation clinics with Al Ittihad Medical Centre in Jumeirah as the primary clinic. At these clinics, qualified medical professionals mentor and support smokers and give nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to patients. The NRT is highly effective with no side effects; in 2005 the American Committee on the Safety of Medicines recommended that NRT be given to pregnant smokers and also adolescent smokers.

Sources:
The Workplace Survey conducted by Harris Interactive and supported by Pfizer, was one of the largest global surveys conducted to investigate the attitudes of employers and employees towards smoking. 3,515 adult employee smokers and 1,403 employers from 14 countries were interviewed for the study, over a 11-week period. Pfizer Inc. discovers, develops, manufactures and markets leading prescription medicines, for humans and animals, as well as many of the world's best-known consumer products.

For further information go to www.pfizer.com
For more information go to www.mea.novartis.com
Saudi Medical Journal For more information log to www.smj.org.sa

Source: Arabian Woman
Posted: 29/06/2008


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