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WHO releases clinical treatment guideline for tobacco cessation

by Haruna Gimba
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By Muhammad Amaan

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended a comprehensive set of tobacco cessation interventions, including behavioural support delivered by health-care providers, in its first guidelines on tobacco cessation.

Other interventions include digital cessation and pharmacological treatments, the world health body said in a statement on Tuesday.

It said that the guideline focused on helping the more than 750 million tobacco users who want to quit all forms of tobacco.

“The recommendations are relevant for all adults seeking to quit various tobacco products, including cigarettes, waterpipes, smokeless tobacco products, cigars, roll-your-own tobacco, and Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs).”

WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus said that the guideline marked a crucial milestone in the global battle against the dangerous products.

“It empowers countries with the essential tools to effectively support individuals in quitting tobacco and alleviate the global burden of tobacco-related diseases,” Ghebreyesus said.

According to him, more than 60 per cent of the world’s 1.25 billion tobacco users, more than 750 million people, wish to quit, yet 70 per cent lack access to effective cessation services.

He said that the gap existed due to challenges faced by health systems, including resource limitations.

Dr Rüdiger Krech, Director of Health Promotion at WHO, said that the immense struggle that people face when trying to quit smoking cannot be overstated.

“We need to deeply appreciate the strength it takes and the suffering endured by individuals and their loved ones to overcome this addiction.

“These guidelines are designed to help communities and governments provide the best possible support and assistance for those on this challenging journey,” Krech said.

He said that combining pharmacotherapy with behavioural interventions significantly increased quitting success rates.

According to him, countries are encouraged to provide these treatments at no or reduced cost to improve accessibility, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

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