Dubai: If you have been struggling with giving up a nicotine addiction, and wondering where you can turn to for help, there is good news. The UAE’s health authorities have opened smoking cessation clinics at various locations across the country the guide and support individuals wanting to quit smoking.
Here is all you need to know about the smoking cessation clinics and what you can expect when you register.
Why you should quit smoking
Abu Dhabi Public Health Center, which has licensed nine cessation clinics in the emirate, said that while it is not easy to quit smoking, there are many benefits when tobacco use is stopped, some of which include:
• Reduced risk of developing illness, disability or death caused by cancer, heart, lung disease, or circulatory problems (such as limb amputation).
• Increased protection for your family and friends from the harmful effects of second hand smoke.
• Improved fertility levels and increased chance of a healthy pregnancy and baby.
• Improved breathing and general fitness.
• Improved taste of food.
• Improved appearance of skin and teeth
• Elimination of the smell of stale tobacco.
• Reduced fire risk at home.
“You are probably addicted to nicotine and it can take time to break away from a nicotine addiction. Many people manage to do this successfully every day. It may take more than one attempt to quit for good, the important thing is not to give up. You may smoke when you are stressed, bored or angry, so try not to expose yourself to such conditions and remember the stress will pass without the need for a cigarette. Try and stay away from social situations where people are smoking as this may weaken your resolve,” the centre said in a statement to Gulf News.
What happens when I visit a cessation clinic?
According to Dubai Health Authority (DHA), which runs three smoking cessation clinics in the emirate, a person visiting the clinic to begin their cessation journey would get four consultation visits:
• Assessment and counselling by a family physician, trained in managing tobacco addiction
• Assessment by specialised nurse
• Treatment plan visit
• Follow up visits
Laboratory investigations include a complete blood count, liver function tests and renal function test, Electrocardiogram (ECG) and chest X-ray, a lung function test, assessment of carbon monoxide levels and coordination or referral to specialist care, when deemed necessary.
Dr Ayesha Al Olama, Senior Specialist Registrar and Acting Head of Acute and Chronic Diseases Unit at DHA, spoke about what a patient can expect when he or she registers for the health service.
“The smoking cessation clinic doctor will support the smoker’s decision of quitting smoking by providing behavioural counselling and medications. Management plans will also be set through a discussion between the smoker and the treating physician. Patients will be advised to set a quitting date and will be encouraged to get rid of all items that remind the smoker to smoke. Smokers will also be informed about withdrawal symptoms that may arise once they stop smoking and how to overcome them. Also, medicines will be given to support them and help them overcome withdrawal symptoms,” she said in a press statement following the recent opening of DHA’s third smoking cessation clinic in Nad Al Hammar.
Medications that are used in smoking cessation clinics are Nicotine patches and Champix tabs. Patient will have support from the smoking cessation clinic team through regular follow ups, as well.
In Abu Dhabi and Dubai, where health insurance is mandatory the total cost of the rehabilitation programme can vary depending on the severity of each case. According to ADPHC, payment for this service for UAE Nationals covered under the Thiqa scheme; and for non-Nationals is consistent with their insurance policy and policy schedule of benefits.
Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP), however, offers smoking cessation services for free at the locations listed below.
Who can visit the clinic?
The cessation clinics are available to all nationalities, and adults (18 years or older) and adolescents (12 to 17 years old) can avail of the services.
If you visit a MOHAP-licensed centre anywhere in the emirate, the service is provided for all ages, both sexes and all nationalities.
Location of centres
These are the tobacco cessation clinics licensed by Abu Dhabi’s Department of Health:
Al Dhafra Family Medicine Center, Abu Dhabi
Al Jahli Healthcare Center, Al Ain
Al Muweiji Healthcare Center, Al Ain
Baniyas Healthcare Center, Abu Dhabi
Madinat Khalifa Healthcare Center, Abu Dhabi
Oud Al Touba Healthcare Center, Al Ain
American Center For Psychiatry And Neurology L.L.C, Abu Dhabi
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi L.L.C, Abu Dhabi
Al Bateen Healthcare Center, Abu Dhabi
Dubai Health Authority (DHA) organises regular smoking cessation clinics at three health centres in the emirate.
To book an appointment, people can register by calling the DHA hotline – 800 342. The call centre agent will inform you of the nearest health centre you can visit and the schedule of the next smoking clinic.
Al Twar Health Centre
The clinic is organised every Wednesday afternoon
Nadd Al Hamar Health Centre
The clinic is organised twice a month, every other Thursday.
Al Barsha Health Centre
The clinic is organised twice a month, on alternative Monday mornings
Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) also operates smoking cessation centres in Dubai. According to the MOHAP website, these services are offered for free at all MOHAP health centres. The locations in Dubai are:
• Al Muhaisnah Health Center
• Al Ittihad Health Center
You can visit the MOHAP smoking cessation centre at Wasit Health Centre.
You can visit the MOHAP smoking cessation centre at Al Madina Health Centre and soon Al Hamidiya medical center
Umm Al Quwain
• Al Khazzan Health Center
• Al Salama Health Center
Ras Al Khaimah
• Ras Al Khaimah Health Center
• Al Dhait Health Center
• Murashid Health Center
• Murbah Health Center
• Dadna Health Center