Is there death without tobacco?

It starts for real today. Of course, those willing will find a way to smoke. For the first time in a long time, there is a really strict legal approach to smokers that restricts their freedom of smoking. Will the "suffering" yield results? The experts have calculated everything, and here are the conclusions.

Russia currently holds the sad first place in Europe in terms of the number of smoking citizens. 60.2 % of men and 21.7 % of Russian women are smokers. According to the World Lung Foundation, cigarette consumption in Russia is at the level of 2,768 cigarettes per person per year, the highest rate in the world. Every year, 300,000 Russians die from the diseases caused by the consequences of smoking. Experts say that quitting smoking will prevent 3.7 million deaths in Russia in the next 40 years.

Moscow recently hosted a round table "Life without tobacco - theory and practice in Russia and abroad." The participants of the event included Philip Tonnesen, an MD, senior consultant and head of the department of pulmonology of "Gentofte" clinic in Copenhagen (Denmark), Galina Sakharova, head of the center for quitting tobacco of Pulmonology Research Institute of FMBA Russia, and Evgeny Achkasov, President of the "National Alliance of Medicine and Sports "Healthy Generation"" discussed effective methods to combat tobacco use and tobacco dependency treatment. They outlined the prospects for the development of anti-smoking legislation in Russia and the intended effect of a package of measures to combat smoking.

Dr. Philip Tonnesen shared data on the impact of anti-smoking legislation in Europe to reduce tobacco consumption. Thanks to the comprehensive measures taken in the UK, the number of smokers in the country in the last 40 years has decreased by 75%, and in Denmark the same ratio has reached 71 %. These successes are largely due to the efficient organization of smoking cessation. Philip Tonnesen spoke about the global experience of care for quitters. Counseling and medication are considered to be the most effective combination. According to the WHO, the drugs for nicotine replacement therapy are in the first line of tobacco dependency treatment. "The use of these drugs in combination with medical counseling gives the best results in the treatment of tobacco dependency," said Philip Tonnesen. "To date, nicotine replacement therapy is the most studied from a scientific point of view, as well as a safe, effective and economically viable treatment option," said Dr. Tonnesen.

According to the international expert, the greatest success in the organization of smoking cessation aid was achieved in the UK. A developed network of clinics to combat tobacco smoking was created, one clinic for 150,000 people. Quitting aid involves not only medical advice, but also reimbursement for nicotine replacement therapy products. Treatment of tobacco dependency in addition to maintaining health and lives of millions of people has a specific economic benefit. The cost of counseling and medication is approximately 2,400 euros. This is many times more efficient from an economic point of view than treatment of the effects of tobacco dependency such as cardiovascular diseases.

Galina Sakharova spoke to the participants and guests of the roundtable about the prospects of the influence of the adoption of Federal Law № 15 -FZ "On the protection of public health from the exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and the consequences of tobacco use." The law that came into effect on June 1, 2013, requires some refinement and supplementing regulations. However, the work to ensure its enforcement has already begun. Speaking about the measures for the treatment of tobacco dependency, Galina Sakharova also mentioned health centers. In the past year only in Moscow over 300,000 smokers willing to quit turned to these centers for help. Among the immediate tasks in the field of smoking cessation Professor Sakharov called widespread public awareness about medical care options, the need to place a "hot line" number on all packages of tobacco products, and continuation of the campaign to train physicians in counseling smokers and the use of nicotine replacement therapy products.

"We need to set realistic goals, and now we are talking about reducing the number of smokers by 25% by 2025," explained Professor Sakharova.  "Tobacco addiction can be and should be treated. Yeas, the effects of tobacco smoking do not manifest themselves immediately, but in twenty years it does not matter what disease a smoker will die from, be it lung cancer or cardio- vascular disease - the cause is smoking."

Summing up the discussion, the organizer, Professor Evgeny Achkasov, stressed that a comprehensive program to promote healthy lifestyle, legislative measures to curb tobacco use, and effective treatment of tobacco dependency, according to experts, may lead to a reduction in the number of smokers by 50 % by 2055. This means that in the period from 2015 to 2055 death from smoking of 2,684,994 Russian men and 1,011,985 women will be prevented.
Are you going to quit?

Irina Savchenko


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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov