These are just some of the benefits for smokers to quit smoking. In addition to these, in times of pandemic, the decision to quit smoking has a positive impact, reducing the chances of progression to severe covid-19.
However, we know that quitting smoking may not be an easy task, even a necessary one. The smoker is not someone “without willpower”, or “who doesn’t stop smoking because he doesn’t want to”.
As described by the National Cancer Institute (Inca), whoever smokes suffers from chemical dependency, that is, when trying to quit the habit, they are faced with physical and psychological discomfort that can bring suffering and that may impose the need for several attempts until quitting of tobacco.
Understanding what happens to smokers and their attempts to quit smoking is essential for realizing the problem. It is from this premise that the Unified Health System (SUS) offers treatment for smoking.
In Minas Gerais, through the State Program for Tobacco Control, SUS offers treatment in more than 600 municipalities in the state. With the support of qualified health professionals, the service is primarily offered in Basic Health Units (UBSs).
Treatment consists of structured therapeutic counseling with an intensive approach, with the possibility of using medication, upon individual clinical assessment of the patient.
“The person seeking help will be welcomed by UBS professionals, where they will undergo a clinical evaluation and be guided on the risks of smoking, the benefits of quitting smoking, and on strategies to deal with this process”, he observes. the coordinator of Health Promotion and Tobacco Control Programs at the State Department of Health (SES-MG), Nayara Resende Pena.
Afterwards, Nayara continues, “she will be referred for treatment, through participation in periodic sessions that will help her change her behavior. When necessary, there is also drug support, in an associated way”, he describes.
Treatment consists of guiding patients, providing the necessary information for them to deal with the withdrawal syndrome, psychological dependence and the conditioning associated with smoking, in addition to supporting them in this process.
It is noteworthy that, during the pandemic, care has been provided by health teams online or individually.
Users who show interest in quitting smoking should contact the Health Department of their city to be informed which units offer smoking treatment through the local SUS.
Through the state coordination of the Tobacco Control Program, SES-MG works by supporting and promoting the availability of tobacco treatment in municipalities in order to support this action to be constant in the territories. “Actions to qualify health professionals for patient care and availability of smoking treatment are constant, in addition to the distribution of supplies and technical support materials”, explains coordinator Nayara Pena.
The State Tobacco Control Program is also active in preventing smoking initiation, developing educational campaigns, protecting secondhand smokers and supporting regulatory measures.