Dubai: The concerted efforts of the smoking cessation clinics of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) resulted in 16.9 per cent smokers quit smoking in 2014 a commendable rise compared to 14 per cent in 2013.

“This percentage of quitting is comparable to international figures,” Dr Hanan Obaid, consultant family medicine head of acute and chronic disease unit told Gulf News on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day (May 31),

The Centre for Disease Control (USA) (CDC) estimates that every six seconds someone dies of a tobacco-related disease in the world.

In the 20th century 100 million people died from tobacco-related diseases and without concerted efforts, nearly a billion people could die this century from tobacco-related diseases — many of them due to second-hand smoke.

Ramadan best period to quit smoking

At the DHA Twitter Clinic on Quitting observed on Thursday (May 28), Dr Obaid expressed the hope that more smokers could begin their quitting programme in the run up to Ramadan, one of the best periods to give up smoking.

“First smokers need to have a strong willpower and take the decision to quit, once they have done that, they can sign up at our smoke cessation clinics in Al Barsha and Al Twar. We invest great effort in assessing a smoker’s level of dependency on tobacco using lung function test and ascertain the level of carbon monoxide in their blood. We provide them with counselling session and depending on their nicotine dependence, give them nicotine patches, chewing gum and anti-tobacco pills — one or all of these — to help them kick the habit.”

Once the smokers have prepared themselves, the 15 hours of fasting during Ramadan where they are able to stay without smoking gives them added strength to quit completely. “If a smoker can stay without nicotine for 15 hours, it becomes a lot easier for him to give up smoking. This is the best time for any smoker to quit smoking. Usually it takes anything between two weeks to three months to completely give up smoking,” Dr Hanan added.

Dubai Government lends a helping hand

The DHA and its primary health care centres have been specially active in educating society through community campaigns discouraging the use of tobacco, targeting all categories of the society students in schools and universities, adult males and females. It started the Tobacco Free Dubai initiative in 2009 which has helped in educating nearly 40,000 participants to quit smoking to date. In addition, DHA conducts smoke cessation clinics at Al Twar and Al Barsha health centres, said Dr Hanan. The Al Twar clinic is in session every Wednesday afternoon and every Thursday morning, while the clinic at the Al Barsha health centre conducts classes for quitters every Tuesday morning.

Annually the anti smoking clinics register about 300 clients.

The DHA smoking cessation package includes multiple visits to the physician, vital blood tests, ECG, CXR, lung function test, smokalyser test to measure the carbon monoxide level and counselling sessions and medication.

With so much incentive, there’s no better time than now to say yes to no smoking!