More than 200 patients treated annually at the Smoking Cessation Unit of the Candelaria University Hospitalin Tenerife, has achieved give up smoking, The Ministry of Health of the Government of the Canary Islands reported this Tuesday.
Specialists treat addiction in a comprehensive and stigma-free way, educating about dependency and offering effective, long-term solutions. These experts who make up the unit point out that the process begins by helping patients understand their addiction and the reasons that lead them to continue smoking, despite knowing the risks and, in many cases, suffering from a related pathology. They explain to patients that addiction is not a conscious choice, but a disease, and once the process begins, treatment options are offered, including medications to treat withdrawal symptoms. “It is not a habit, but a disease. They are not the culprits, but rather the victims of an addiction,” explain those responsible for the unit.
Usually, people who come to this program suffer from serious illnesses derived from smoking and have a high physical dependence on nicotine. The support does not end after the patient is discharged, as they can continue contacting the unit via email. Experts assure that relapses are common and part of the cessation process, “we see smoking as a chronic disease and what we seek is to be able to be free of it for as long as possible. A day without smoking is a day won.”
Pulmonologists warn that prevention is important to end smoking, and point out that the general age to start smoking is 14 years. At this crucial stage of development, the brain is particularly vulnerable to dependence, and it is also one of the most normalized substances, since it does not manifest changes in behavior, like alcohol or other substances. They also refer to the growing technological seduction of vaping devices and new smoking techniques. They explain that the tobacco industry has developed marketing strategies that are popularized through social networks, attracting young people.
This trend presents an additional challenge, as new forms of consumption, even those that do not contain tobacco, pose significant health risks due to the presence of unknown substances, underscoring the urgent need to raise awareness of these dangers.