Dubai Health Authority (DHA) added a new Smoking Cessation Clinic in Nad Al Hamr Health Centre, totaling the number of DHA Smoking Cessation Clinics to three.
The DHA smoking cessation clinics, which cater to around 400 customers annually recorded a 14 per cent quitting rate in 2020. Globally the quitting rate is in the range of 10 to 20 per cent.
DHA’s Primary Health Care Sector established the first Smoking Cessation Clinic in 2010 after studies found that professional support and approved cessation medications can more than double a tobacco user's chance of successful quitting.
Studies also found that without cessation support only four per cent of attempts to quit tobacco will succeed.
Dr. Ayesha Al Olama, Senior Specialist Registrar and Acting Head of Acute and Chronic Diseases Unit said that tobacco addiction is a chronic disease that often requires multiple attempts to quit.
“Although some smokers are able to quit without help, many others need assistance. Both behavioral interventions (counselling) and medication can help smokers quit; but the combination of medication with counselling is more effective than either alone. Therefore, DHA introduced Smoking Cessation Clinics, which are one of the specialist clinics in Primary Health Care Services Sector to support smokers and help them quit smoking and to reduce the risk factors of chronic diseases,” she said.
Dr Al Olama revealed that there are currently three smoking cessation clinics, which benefit around 400 customers annually. They are located in Al Twar Health Centre on a weekly basis every Wednesday afternoon, Nadd AlHamar Health Centre twice a month, every other Thursday, Al Barsha Health Centre, twice a month on alternative Monday mornings.
The counseling & medication services target all tobacco-type smokers and are provided by physicians & nurses who are trained on tobacco dependence treatment.
Customers can book appointments through referrals from family clinics or other DHA facilities, walk-in or by calling the DHA Contact Centre 800342.
“The smoking cessation clinic doctor will support the smoker’s decision of quitting smoking by providing behavioral (counselling) and medications. Management plans will also be set through a discussion between the smoker and the treating physician in a patient-centered care manner. 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.
Dr Ayshea added that the doctors will encourage smokers to follow a healthy lifestyle, which will increase the chances of quitting smoking.
“Medications that are used in smoking cessation clinics to support quitting are Nicotine patches and Champix tabs. Patient will have support from the smoking cessation clinic team through regular follow ups,” she said.
She added that Quitting smoking lowers the risk of smoking-related diseases, which can add years to a smoker’s life as tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the world, it kills half of all lifetime users, and half of those die in middle age.
Furthermore, cigarette smoking harms nearly every organ of the body, causes many diseases, and reduces the health of smokers in general.
“The immediate health benefits of quitting smoking are substantial. The heart rate and blood pressure, which are abnormally high while smoking, begin to return to normal. Within a few hours, the level of carbon monoxide in the blood begins to decline. (Carbon monoxide reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen). Within a few weeks, people who quit smoking will have improved circulation, produce less phlegm, and stop coughing or wheezing as often. Within several months of quitting, people can expect substantial improvements in lung function,” said Dr Al Olama.
She added that the long-term health benefits include reducing the risk of cancer and many other diseases, such as heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease caused by smoking.
She concluded by stating that people who quit smoking have substantial gains in life expectancy, compared with those who continue to smoke
Fact Box: Smoking Cessation Clinic Packages, includes four consultation visits:
• Assessment & counseling by expert family physicians trained in managing tobacco addiction
•Assessment by specialized nurse
• Treatment plan visit
•Follow up visits
2. Laboratory investigations include Complete blood count, liver function tests and renal function test
4. Electrocardiogram (ECG) & Chest X-ray.
5. Assessing lung function test
6. Assessing carbon monoxide level
3. Coordination/Referral to specialist care, when deemed necessary.