lifeSUPPORT – Smoking Cessation Program
The habit of smoking is considered by the World Health Organization as a chronic disease and it should be treated as such. Due to nicotine addiction-dependence to quit smoking is a difficult task for smokers.
There are about 900,000,000 smokers worldwide despite the great efforts and campaigns to inform about the harmful effects of cigarettes. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4000 chemicals of which more than 50 are known carcinogens.
Smoking is known to be a risk factor for a large number of diseases. These include:
- Many types of cancer (such as: lung, mouth, esophagus, larynx, pancreas, bladder)
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (chronic bronchitis and emphysema)
- Coronary artery disease
- Vascular strokes
- Peripheral vascular diseases
- Skin aging
- Complications during pregnancy and childbirth etc.
There are well organized scientific smoking cessation programs organized by psychologists, pulmonologists and other medical professionals that are designed to help smokers to quit smoking.
Before the smoker joins the program, a brief introduction meeting takes place, during which the smoker is informed of all the material about the smoking cessation program.
What is the smoking cessation program?
Firstly, the smoker needs a respiratory system assessment that includes medical history, clinical examination and spirometry.
This is followed by a review of smoking habit-dependence (via a special questionnaire) and a discussion in order to find the appropriate therapeutic protocol for each smoker. The program lasts 2 months and it includes 8 group meetings, but it may need to be adjusted on a case-by-case basis.
There are some cases where special medication is not needed. The medication used for treatment is proposed as first choice medication by all international guidelines and it is available in our country.
Medication is prescribed by a pulmonologist who has the monitoring responsibility. Research has shown that medication and counseling had a combined rate of success that reached up to 88%.
Medication includes medicines such as nicotine patches, bupropion and varenicline. These medicines control the mood and reduce withdrawal symptoms.
However, the personal will and willingness of the smoker to participate in a smoking cessation programme are essential and an important factor of success.