Dubai: Gulf News' Stub it! campaign has kicked off to help its readers quit smoking and lead a better quality of life.
Five readers are presently undergoing counselling and are being given professional medical help to put them back on the road to better health.
Gulf News' partner in this campaign is DM Healthcare Group. The Group has offered Dh100,000 free health insurance cover for a year to each of the readers in their fight against nicotine addiction.
We will be following the five readers over the next six months to a year and detailing their efforts to lead a smoke-free life. As everyone knows smoking is the leading cause of cancers and cardiovascular disease.
Dr Sanjiv Malek, executive director of the Group, notes that 600,000 non-smokers die every year just by inhaling second-hand smoke. He points out that every six seconds someone around the globe dies due to tobacco-related diseases.
"Smoking not only affects you but affects the society around you," said Dr Sreekumar Sreedharan, specialist physician at Aster Clinic who has counselled the readers.
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Agha Nima, a 35-year-old Iranian, who is among the first five readers to be given professional help, said he wishes to quit smoking because he wants to breathe again.
The expatriate bachelor who smokes between 15 to 20 cigarettes every day said he has tried to quit over the years but never succeeded. "I need someone responsible to watch over me," he said.
The expatriate wishes to lead an active life and wants to go diving and horse riding, but cannot because of his shortness of breath. "Thinking of my lungs makes me scared," he said.
Marvyn Roni Gomes, a 25-year-old, said his motivation to quit is that he loves to play football. "Smoking is affecting my game, my lifestyle," he said. The specialist doctor said more people are now aware about the dangers of smoking and are motivated to quit. He said some smokers wish to quit because of pressure from their children.
"More than their wives it is their children who are helping them quit,' he said.
The specialist said that once a person quits smoking, the benefits are immense. "Over a period of time the damage to the lung and the heart can be reversed," he said.
The doctor said most people cannot give up the addiction themselves, they need professional help. Dr Malek said you need about six to eight months to kick the habit. But he warned there is usually a relapse and the smoker will need support from friends or family members to overcome the initial hurdles.
Gulf News believes its brief is not only to educate and entertain readers but also be a driver in changing people's lives for the better.
The following people are on the road to good health, as part of the Gulf News initiative: Agha Nima, Farhan Sattar, Marvyn Roni Gomes, Mohammad Ayoub Khan and Suhail Mirza.
As these five readers get on the road to health, five more readers will embark on their Stub It! journey soon. If you wish to join in this campaign please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your details and a line on why you wish to quit smoking.