The National Cancer Institute (Inca) offers free treatment against smoking in primary care units through the state and municipal secretariats of the Health and Education secretariats.
“Brazil is one of the 15 countries in the world that offers this treatment to the entire population, including all medicines, which do not have a low price”, explained Liz de Almeida, physician and coordinator of Prevention and Surveillance at the Inca.
For this, Inca trained health professionals, prepared informational materials and encouraged teleservice.
Inca figures show that, in 2019, 25 thousand people who wanted to quit smoking were assisted by the Unified Health System. Last year, after the beginning of the pandemic, this number dropped to 8,500 patients – a reduction of 66% .
Among the reasons for this drop are the focus on combating Covid in health facilities and the isolation of patients who avoided these places during the pandemic.
“I started smoking at 18. It was chic, it was beautiful. Now I’m feeling good, I can breathe better. I can stop, yes,” said retired educator Maria Helena Rocha, who quit smoking four months ago.
seven thousand toxic substances
Today, cigarettes, with their more than seven thousand toxic substances, are a major public health concern. Cause of a chronic disease resulting from chemical dependence on nicotine, smoking.
Smokers have reason to be concerned about the coronavirus.
“A substance that affects the immune system, respiratory system and cariovascular system, all attacked by Covid-19. Therefore, when you use tobacco and contract Covid, the chances of problems and even death increase”, explained the doctor and coordinator of Prevention and Inca Surveillance, Liz de Almeida.
The Inca estimates that tobacco kills 162,000 people a year in Brazil.
The habit of smoking costs approximately R$ 125 billion to the public coffers, with direct and indirect expenses for the treatment of diseases caused by smoking – 23% of everything the country spent in 2020 on fighting Covid.
According to data from Inca, during the pandemic there was a reduction in care against smoking throughout the country. The Southeast region registered the biggest drop: 68%.