Say NO to smoking!

Health Organization (WHO) has called for the support of health care professionals in curbing the menace of smoking and urging smokers to quit the habit. It has asked health care professionals to push for ban on &to=http:// ' target=_blank>smoking in public areas as also in medical arenas like hospitals, research centers and clinics.

The call marks the celebration of May 31 as World No Tobacco Day. This year`s theme revolves around "Health Professionals against tobacco, action and answers".

"Tobacco continues to be a leading global killer, with nearly five million deaths a year. The health community plays a key role in the global effort to fight this epidemic. Health professionals are on the frontline. They need the skills to help people stop smoking, and they need to lead by example, and quit tobacco use themselves," said Dr LEE Jong-wook, director general, WHO, in a statement. According to WHO estimates, if no measures were taken to curb the growing menace, by 2020, around ten million deaths would occur due to tobacco annually.

Health care professionals like doctors, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, midwives, psychologists, and psychiatrists, among others, are in a good position to impart education to people and create awareness among smokers. "They are in contact with a high percentage of the population and can be instrumental in helping people change their behavior," said a statement released by WHO.

However, a need of the hour is a more systematic approach for enlisting the help of health professionals in curbing the habit of smoking, if a new survey by the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA), the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and WHO is any indication. The survey, called the Global Health Professionals Survey, took into account the opinions of third year students from dental, medical, nursing and pharmacy disciplines from ten countries - Albania, Argentina-Buenos Aires, Bangladesh, Croatia, Egypt-Cairo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, India, Philippines, the Republic of Serbia, and Uganda, reports the Earthtimes.

Studies show that even brief advice from health professionals can increase tobacco abstinence rates up to 30%. Interventions for smoking cessation led by nurses have shown to increase the chance of successfully quitting smoking by up to 50%.