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Ukrainians will get help to give up smoking
Press release prepared by the non-governmental organization “Zhyttia”
On the 17th of November, in the International No Smoking Day, there was a press conference where a project of creating a national service to help smokers quit was presented. This initiative is being implemented by NGO "Zhyttia" (Life) as a part of a joint project of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and the WHO Country Office, and is supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation "Noncommunicable diseases: prevention and health promotion in Ukraine."
"Measures on Tobacco Control are aimed at creating conditions conducive to the smokers to give up smoking. Help in the refusing from the use of tobacco is one of the key strategies of WHO in combating the tobacco epidemic”, - comments Natalia Korol, an expert in noncommunicable diseases inthe WHO Office in Ukraine.
The reality of getting help to stop smoking at the moment is that only 2% of those who tried to quit previously received advice or assistance of the doctor, and it is mostly elder smokers with chronic diseases caused by tobacco use. According to a Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) of 2010, 40.5% of smokers tried to quit, but only 6.7% were able to do it.
According to the results of nationwide poll of smokers, conducted by Kiev International Institute of Sociology in September-October of this year, in Ukraine there is a significant need for the service providing professional help to quit smoking: 77% of the survey respondents believe the establishment of such a service that will provide assistance to be necessary. The same opinion is shared even by 60% of those who themselves are unwilling to give up smoking yet. At the same time, 69% of the polled smokers expressed a desire to quit smoking, 70% of respondents have already made at least one attempt. Thus, 34% of smokers would like to give up using tobacco within the next month, and more than half of them (or 23% of all the respondents) are trying to quit smoking on their own or seek the outside help.
Ukrainian smokers are willing to use various modern means of obtaining an advice and assistance: 21% of the respondents who plan to quit said that in the process of quitting they are ready to use the website for help to stop smoking, and 19% are ready to use telephone consultations. Nearly 30% would like to talk with a doctor or psychologist.
"According to the results of various studies conducted in Ukraine, from 0.5 to 1.5 million of smokers a year, are trying to stop smoking and need to get an external assistance for that. This indicates that the demand for professional services for quitting smoking is rather high. Unfortunately, today in Ukraine there is no way of helping that could meet this need, so we have to make an effort to create it", - says Tetiana Andrieieva, an expert on public health and chief editor of «Tobacco Control and Public Health in Eastern Europe».
One type of such assistance is a nationwide service, which is scheduled to be opened in Ukraine.
"The project aims to create a combined system consisting of the telephone service ("hot" line for smokers) and an interactive website, that are integrated with each other using modern technologies. Such solution will not only provide an effective help for smokers who want to quit smoking but also will assist in collecting data on the needs of smokers and in configuring the system so as to meet the expectations of users ", - says Kateryna Rymarenko, project coordinator in NGO “Zhyttia”.
Similar services operate in many countries and have proven effective since they help to reduce the incidence of a number of deadly diseases resulting from tobacco use. Usually, hotline and website addresses are printed on the packs of cigarettes along with warnings about the dangers of smoking.
"Quitting smoking is never too late at any age and in any condition of health and disease because tobacco use is a major risk factor for many fatal diseases that disable and maim people. Denial of tobacco consumption is the best way to protect health, both of the smokers and other people", - claimed Otto Stoika, chief medical officer in Kyiv City Health Center.
Quitting smoking has a huge positive impact both for the smoker and for society in general. Once a person stopped smoking, on the same day the levels of carbon monoxide fall to the level of nonsmokers. Women who stop smoking before pregnancy significantly reduce the risk of having a premature baby. In addition, refusal from smoking has obvious economic benefits: having quitted smoking, one could save about 7300 hryvnias a year. Moreover, it improves the productivity of work and reduces the cost of treatment, which is certainly beneficial to a person, and the state.
"Today, we finally come to understand that it is cheaper to prevent the disease than to cure it. Helping smokers to stop smoking is an important contribution to the prevention of various diseases, particularly cardiovascular. We know that in Ukraine these diseases annually kills about half a million of the Ukrainians and one of the main factors that cause cardiovascular diseases is smoking. If the smoker will have an access to professional help, it will increase his chances to stop smoking. Therefore, the development of the service of quitting is extremely important. The Ministry of Health welcomes such initiatives", - stated Oleh Dudin,
«Сьогодні ми нарешті прийшли до розуміння того, що хворобу дешевше попередити, ніж лікувати. Допомога курцям у припиненні куріння – це важливий внесок у запобігання різноманітним захворюванням, зокрема, серцево-судинним. Ми знаємо, що від цих хвороб в Україні щорічно помирає близько півмільйона українців і одним із основних факторів, які спричиняють серцево-судинні хвороби, є куріння. Якщо курець матиме доступ до фахової допомоги, це підвищить його шанси відмовитись від куріння. Тому розробка сервісу з відмови від куріння є вкрай важливою. Міністерствоохорониздоров’явітаєподібніініціативи», - наголосив ОлегДудін, chief specialist of coordination with other central executive authorities and ministries of the Public Health Office in the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.
The survey of smokers was conducted by Kyiv International Institute of Sociology in September and October 2016. Using telephone interviews 1400 smokers aged 18 and older were polled with a sample representative of Ukraine. The survey was conducted in all regions of Ukraine except for AR of Crimea and the territories that are not controlled by Ukraine in the Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts (regions). Sampling error does not exceed 2.7% (excluding the design effect).
The tobacco contains nicotine - a drug that is addictive like heroin and cocaine. Most consumers of tobacco have a nicotine dependence and it is difficult for them to stop smoking on their own. The main function of the cigarette smoking is the rapid delivery of the doses of nicotine to the brain. The effects of tobacco use and nicotine addiction that cause an abstinence are defined by the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and problems related to health [ICD-10] as a disease category of "dependence syndrome due to the tobacco usage." Diagnostic and Statistical handbook of mental disorders [D.S.M-IV] also classifies disorders associated with nicotine as disorders of the subcategories depending [305.10] and abstinence [292.0] that can occur after any form of tobacco usage.
For contacts: Oksana Totovytska, media coordinator of Ukrainian Center of Tobacco Control NGO “Zhyttia”, +38(063) 261 74 05, (044) 234 93 20, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Addition 1. Formulations of the questions from the questionnaire
A2. What is the average number of cigarettes you smoke in a day now?
(INTERVIEWER: IF THERESPONDENTS SAYS THAT SHE/HE DOES NOT SMOKE (A2=0), → GO TO THE QUESTION A3)
A3. What other tobacco products do you smoke? (INTERVIEWER: DO NOT READ THE NAMES OF THE PRODUCTS, JUST MARK THOSE THAT RESPONDENT NAMED HER/HIMSELF)
A4. How old were you when you first started smoking daily?
A5. How quickly do you usually burn a cigarette (tobacco product) after waking up? (INTERVIEWER: DO NOT ASK FOR LOWER OPTIONS IF YOU RECEIVE A POSITIVE ANSWER FOR THE OPTION ABOVE)
A6. What do you think of quitting to smoke?
A7. Please indicate whether you earlier made the attempts to quit smoking?
yes.......................................... 1 → GO TO THE QUESTION A8
no........................................... 2 → GO TO THE QUESTION A11
A10. What tools to help yourself to stop smoking did you use?
(INTERVIEWER: IT IS IMPORTANT TO MARK ALL THE TOOLS USED)
A11. If the various forms of assistance to stop smoking were equally available soon, would you like to apply them themselves or recommend to other smokers who want to stop smoking the means that I will name next?
A12. Say what of the everything I will list is available for you
A16. Do you think that creating a system of affordable help in quitting smoking in Ukraine is necessary?