Health basket with anti-smoking drugs, courses ‘successful’

10,000 Israelis have taken a course to quit smoking; 700 such workshops have been held so far in 2010.

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November 22, 2010 04:36
1 minute read.
10,000 ISRAELIS have taken course to quit smoking

man smoking 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

Since free courses and medications to help people quit smoking were added in January to the basket of health services, over 10,000 Israelis have taken a course and some have taken the drugs.

Seven hundred such workshops have been held so far in 2010.

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“The public has proven that we took a very important decision, as prevention of decision is the best way to preserve our health,” Prof. Rafael Beyar, the chairman of the committee that recommends additions to the basket, said on Sunday.

“Within a short time after the decision [last December], the health funds began to implement smoking-cessation programs around the country, and smokers with strong wills gave it up. The positive effect on public health has been tremendous.”

Among the 80 prescription drugs added to the 2010 basket were Zyban and Champix, which are free on condition that those who request them agree to participate in a smoking- cessation workshop.

As smoking increases the risk of lung cancer tenfold and significantly raises the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and many others, kicking the habit significantly improves the quality of life,” said Beyar.

A survey of workshop participants that was commissioned by Kupat Holim Meuhedet found that 84 percent felt their breathing had improved after giving up smoking, while 56% said they were better able to carry out physical activity, 47% felt more esthetic, 23% slept better, 22% had a better relationship with their partner, and 14% reported having an improved sex life.

Beyar said that while free smoking-cessation courses and medications were very important, it was vital for the Health and Education ministries to publicize among both adults and children the dangers of tobacco and how to avoid or quit smoking.

“The country has failed in the struggle against tobacco companies, which have succeeded in setting down smoking habits for youths,” he said.


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