ABU DHABI // A dedicated clinic aimed at helping nicotine addicts stub out the habit has helped a record number of smokers quit in the past 18 months.
Sheikh Khalifa Medical City’s Smoking Cessation Clinic first opened its doors in January 2010 and has since been making a real difference in the community, said Dr Abdul Razzak Al Kaddour, a consultant cardiologist at SKMC.
The clinic’s team has treated 395 smokers since January of last year– 155 of whom have managed to kick the habit for good.
“These numbers are very important and the clinic team’s efforts appear to be paying dividends,” said Dr Al Kaddour, who added that, without support, only one in 20 smokers manage to quit.
The specialist clinic’s team use a combination of cognitive counselling and pharmacological treatment.
Dr Al Kaddour said Ramadan is the perfect time to kick the habit, with the enforced ban on cigarettes in public places.
“If one can successfully stop during Ramadan, by the time of Eid Al Fitr, withdrawal symptoms will have disappeared, lungs will have started to repair themselves and there will be less congestion, coughing and shortness of breath noticeable,” he said.
Stopping smoking not only halts the biological damage caused by the habit, but can reverse it as well, said Dr Al Kaddour. It also improves the success rate of treatment for conditions such as heart disease, respiratory illnesses and lung cancer.
“Smokers must not believe that if they are older that there is no point in giving up,” he said. “In one study of almost 9,000 people ages 50 to 74, it was found that smokers who quit later on in life considerably improved their cardiovascular health in just a few years.
“Compared to individuals who continued smoking, the risk of heart attacks and strokes in this group went down significantly within the first few months to years after their final cigarette. Thus, it is never too late to stop.”
About six million people die annually from smoking, according to the World Health Organisation, making tobacco use the single most preventable cause of death globally.