On June 20, 2017 a press conference was held to launch a professional service to help smokers to quit. The service consists of a hotline and a professional website, and aims at helping Ukrainians who suffer from tobacco dependence.
A toll-free quitline 0-800-50-55-60 is staffed by professional and client-oriented consultants that ensure client confidentiality. The web site www.stopsmoking.org.uacontains interesting and useful information on smoking cessation, which can be useful for both smokers and their loved ones. It provides opportunity to get advice by asking questions through an online chat, or by sending an inquiry via e-mail. Nowadays, the service is available from Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 15:00.
“Similar services work in many countries around the world and have already proven to be effective. National toll-free quitline is one of the three wide reach tobacco cessation approaches recommended by WHO. An adequately funded and well-functioning quitline has the potential to reach 6% of all tobacco users each year, since it is accessible to the entire population of the country. Establishing a smoking cessation service in Ukraine can be a start towards providing comprehensive tobacco cessation services to support current tobacco users to quit. This is important in relation to providing professional assistance in smoking cessation to all those in need,” said Dr. Dongbo Fu, an expert on smoking cessation in the WHO Tobacco-Free Initiative.
Natalia Korol, National Professional Officer on Noncommunicable diseases, the WHO Office in Ukraine, said: “Development of smoking cessation services is one of the requirements of Article 14 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Implementation of the measures envisaged by the Convention, such as the prohibition of tobacco advertising, the smoke-free public places, the introduction of new warnings on cigarette packs, and many others contribute to the fact that people quit smoking. So, at this stage it is extremely important to provide them with professional assistance and support so that every smoker could succeed and quit smoking once and for all.”
According to the results of the all-Ukrainian survey of smokers conducted by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology in September-October last year, 77% of Ukrainian smokers believe that availability of quit service is essential. 70% of Ukrainian smokers have already made at least one serious attempt to quit smoking, and approximately the same percentage want to quit smoking. Unfortunately, the percentage of those who succeed is not very large. According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) in 2010, 40.5% of smokers tried to quit smoking, but only 6.7% were able to do so.
“A small percentage of those who succeed in smoking cessation indicates that the availability of professional assistance is extremely important. Our goal is to create the conditions that those smokers who want to get rid of tobacco dependence could do it. Therefore, the Ministry of Health supported the development of a smoking cessation service, and will promote its work and further development. It’s not just a service. This is an instrument that will allow to prevent terrible diseases and those deaths caused by the tobacco consumption,” said Oleg Dudin, the Chief Specialist of the Public Health Department of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.
Smoking cessation has a positive effect both on the smoker and on society in general. Improving yours and your family’s health, saving money, taking care of those around you – this is a far-incomplete list of benefits that each smoker gets after quit smoking. The state also gets benefits concerning savings for the treatment of illnesses caused by smoking, and the better productivity of their citizens.
“To quit smoking is one of the best decisions in the life of every smoker since the smoker’s body begins to recover from the first day of smoking cessation, and the risks of smoking-related illnesses are reduced. The sooner the smoker will decide to quit smoking, the better. Having applied to the new service, chances to successfully quit smoking will grow significantly,” said Otto Stoyka, the Chief Physician of the Kyiv City Health Center.
The service has been developed within an initiative implemented by the NGO Advocacy Center Life under the joint project of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and the Bureau of the World Health Organization with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation “Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD): Prevention and Health Promotion in Ukraine.”
“Today is a landmark day as a service of such level has been created for the first time in Ukraine. We sincerely hope that it will help quit smoking those people who want to get rid of tobacco dependence. In the future, we plan to develop this service and adapt it so that it fully meets the expectations and needs of smokers,” said Kateryna Rymarenko, the projects coordinator of the NGO Advocacy Center Life.
Tobacco contains nicotine, which is an addictive drug on par with heroine and cocaine. Most tobacco users are dependent on nicotine, and it is difficult for them to quit on their own. The primary purpose of smoking tobacco is to deliver a dose of nicotine rapidly to the brain. The effects of tobacco and nicotine to produce dependence and withdrawal are identified by the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems [I.C.D-10] as a disease in the category [T 65.2] ‘Toxic effect of other and unspecified substances’. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [D.S.M-IV] also classifies nicotine-related disorders into the sub-categories of dependence [305.10] and withdrawal [292.0], which may develop with the use of all forms of tobacco..
Contacts: Oksana Totovytska, the Media Coordinator of the Ukrainian Center for Tobacco Control of NGO Advocacy Center Life, +38(063) 261 74 05, (044) 234 93 20,firstname.lastname@example.org.