UAE in major anti-smoking push
Dubai, May 29, 2013
The UAE is definitely moving forward with a number of innovative measures to create and foster a smoke-free environment, said an expert ahead of World No Tobacco Day on May 31.
Local doctors are urging a continued push towards 100 percent smoke-free environments, added Dr Abdul Razzak Alkaddour, consultant cardiologist and head Preventive Cardiology and Smoking Cessation Program at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) in Abu Dhabi.
“Its [UAE’s] approach is enabling a higher number of people to quit smoking, which is a socially-devastating activity,” he said.
Since the introduction of smoke-free laws around the world, studies have documented a range of positive follow-on effects, including a significant decline in hospital admissions for heart attacks, increased productivity and reduced sickness in employees. They have also revealed a decrease risk of fire and its associated injuries.
“Stopping smoking not only halts, but also can reverse the biological damage caused by smoking. Stopping also improves treatment for diseases such as respiratory disease and lung cancer. After quitting, the smoking-related risk of heart disease mortality can be cut almost in half,” said Dr Abdulmajeed Al Zubaidi, cardiologist and chief medical officer at SKMC.
“However, it is not easy for a person to quit. Cigarette smoking is often regarded as a lifestyle choice, but nicotine is an addictive substance similar in potency to alcohol and opiates,” Dr Al Zubaidi added.
“To successfully combat the deaths and disease caused by tobacco, physicians and non-physicians need to reframe how we think about the range of tobacco-related products,” said Khalid Amin, regional director of Cinfa - a leading Spanish pharmaceutical company dedicated to reducing cardiovascular disease with quality choice in medicine.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), tobacco is the second biggest killer in the world today, with approximately half the people who smoke regularly today – about 500 million people – likely to be eventually killed by tobacco.
Equally alarming is the fact that hundreds of thousands of people who have never smoked die each year from diseases caused by breathing other people’s tobacco smoke.
Second-hand tobacco smoke has officially been classified as carcinogenic – cancer causing – in humans. It has also been linked to severe acute and chronic heart disease, bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma in adults and lower respiratory infections, asthma and middle ear infections in children.
"The UAE's public sector is already engaged in quitting smoking campaigns that encourage people to care for themselves and others, understand the risks of smoking and seek support. These health drives will eventually break down the barriers that are stopping our nation from achieving optimum health," added Amin.
The tobacco epidemic kills nearly six million people a year, including more than 600,000 non-smokers exposed to tobacco smoke, as a result of cancer, heart disease, asthma and other illnesses. Without intervention, that number will increase to more than eight million a year by 2030.
With over 4,000 chemical compounds, including 70 known or probable human carcinogens, eliminating exposure to second-hand smoke in public areas has become a major priority of stop smoking campaigns worldwide.
Cigarette and tobacco smoke, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity and diabetes are the six major independent risk factors for coronary heart disease that are modifiable and controllable. – TradeArabia News Service