CIMAS rolls out smoking cessation program to help those trying to quit smoking

IN a bid to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with smoking combustible cigarettes, CIMAS Medical Aid Society has rolled out a three month long smoking cessation program to allow smokers to gradually quit smoking.

By Michael Gwarisa

The program is covered under CIMAS Medical Aid drug and substance abuse rehabilitation package and will see smokers accessing nicotine through patches that deliver nicotine without combustion or burning.

Speaking during a virtual meeting to mark World Drug and Substance Abuse Awareness day, Tinashe Katikiti, Highlands Wellness Clinical Psychologist and General Manager said Nicotine was a highly addictive substance and there was need to intervene and offer safer alternative products to aid smoking cessation or quitting.

It is very encouraging now that CIMAS is now covering drug rehabilitation for up to four weeks. It is a move that we hope will see a number of people assisted. CIMAS is also rolling out a Smoking Cessation program which is a three months program using Nicotine Patches, said Katikiti.

According to the World Health Organisation, Tobacco kills up to half of its users and kills more than 8 million people each year. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. Over 80 percent of the world’s 1.3 billion tobacco users live in low- and middle-income countries. In 2020, 22.3 percent of the global population used tobacco, 36.7 percent of all men and 7.8 percent of the world’s women.

While Nicotine is the addictive substance in cigarettes, studies have since exonerated is as the cause of cancer in persons who smoke. Instead, the health complications have been linked to combustion or burning of tobacco. When tobacco burns, it produces 7, 000 toxic chemicals, including at least 70 known to cause cancer. These cancer-causing chemicals are referred to as carcinogens.

Tobacco Harm Reduction advocates across the world agree that switching to non-combustible nicotine products could go a long way in reducing the burden of tobacco related deaths and diseases. Studies based on biomarkers consistently reveal that users of alternative nicotine priducts such as nicotine patches, e-cigarette and others are exposed to fewer toxins and carcinogens than from tobacco smoke.

From a public health point of view, quitting smoking or cessation is by far the most effective way of reducing tobacco related morbidity and mortality. On average, smoking causes more than a decade of life lost, but quitting before age 40 can return almost all those years by reducing a former smoker’s chance of tobacco-related death by 90 percent.

Data shows that approximately 70 percent of smokers want to quit, but quitting smoking is incredibly challenging because nicotine is addictive. Between 2007 and 2019, the percentage of adults who smoked declined from 22.7 percent to 19.6 percent.

In some countries such as the U.S., a number of cessation strategies have been attempted over the years to assist smokers to quit.

Related posts