Brazil was considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) an example in the fight against smoking. However, despite campaigns to awareness against cigarette a considerable portion of Brazilians still suffer from the harm caused by nicotine.
According to data from the Surveillance of Risk and Protection Factors for Chronic Diseases by Telephone Survey (Vigitel), the total percentage of smokers aged 18 or over in Brazil is 9.5%, with 11.7% among men and 7.6 % among women. The indices represent a population of over 20 million. In Brazil, 443 people die every day because of smoking.
The fight against tobacco is the theme of the CNN Vital Signs From this week. The rerun of the program presented by cardiologist Roberto Kalil will air this Sunday (4), at 7:30 pm, reinforcing the diversified content with the brand CNN Soft .
The cost of damage caused by cigarettes to the health system for the economy can reach R$ 125 billion reais. In addition, more than 160,000 annual deaths could be avoided, according to the National Cancer Institute (Inca).
“Tobacco is a thief of lives”, warns Jaqueline Scholz, cardiologist and director of InCor’s Tobacco Treatment Program. “The main cause of death for smokers, everyone thinks that the respiratory part, but not, is the cardiovascular part. Infarction and stroke are the great killers”, says Jaqueline (see interview in the video above ).
The specialist is the creator of the Smoker’s Assistance Program (PAF), a project that combines behavioral therapy and medication that increases success in combating smoking three times.
“There are three things you have to evaluate in this patient: mental health, how much depression and anxiety he has and he doesn’t even know he has it. This is an important question, which will define whether or not he will be able to stop smoking and even if he will want to stop smoking. Second, the most effective remedy to get rid of that uncontrollable urge to smoke. And the third part, the behavioral technique”, explains Jaqueline.
The episode presents the story of publicist Tálita Sobral, a PAF patient, who managed to quit smoking thanks to the technique. “And the best, without suffering”, says Tálita.
According to experts, new approaches to medicine contribute to reducing the impact of smoking in the country.
“What changed and helped a lot in the treatment of smoking, first was the understanding that smoking is a disease, to stop caring for smokers in a critical and moralistic way. 20 or 30 years ago, the smoker was blamed for this disease. He needs care, he needs to understand that he has a disease because nicotine goes to the brain and it modifies the pleasure center. And pleasure is a fundamental area for life”, highlights Ciro Kirchenchtein, pulmonologist and member of the Brazilian Society of Pulmonology and Tisiology.
Illnesses associated with smoking
In Rio de Janeiro, the team shows how welcoming can make a difference in coping with cigarette addiction. Retired Elizabeth do Nascimento suffers from cancer of the tongue, a real portrait of what appears in the warnings on cigarette packs. Even with the disease, Elizabeth is unable to stop smoking.
“Not all smokers will necessarily develop cancers or cancers related to smoking. Some patients smoke and never have a tobacco-related illness. But it is certainly an important risk factor. More than 80% of lung cancers are related to cigarettes, 70% of bladder cancers are also related to cigarettes, those who smoke are 30 times more likely to develop a disease related to cigarettes than non-smokers”, explains Gustavo Melo Caboclo, doctor and head of the Inca Fighting Tobacco Center.
Experts say that relapses are common in the search for smoking cessation, but that these moments should not discourage smokers.
“Relapse can happen, especially in the first months after smoking cessation. But it can also happen later, during the process, depending on some specific stress, an issue in your life that leads to smoking at that moment”, says Caboclo.
“Many studies show that it sometimes takes more than four attempts before a patient is able to quit smoking. Relapse is an obstacle that we have to overcome too”, he adds.
Electronic cigarette risks
With technology, the decades-long battle against smoking has found a new enemy: the e-cigarette. Although the sale of this product has been banned in Brazil since 2009, a 2020 survey conducted by IPEC estimates that more than 1 million Brazilians were already consuming devices known as electronic cigarettes.
Specialists point out that there is a lobby to release the product. “I think that the big issue of electronic cigarettes in the world is a fever in Brazil. We have legislation that prohibits commercialization, which must be maintained. Because we have a lot to lose. Can you imagine, 19 million smokers in the country, instead of wanting to stop smoking and get rid of the harmful effects of cigarettes, because cessation will really protect the health of these people, they simply decide to migrate”, warns Jaqueline.
One of the myths about e-cigarettes is that they are harmless. The episode shows the routine of a businessman who uses one of these usual devices – and thinks he still does it well.
“There is no safe way to smoke. There is no safe amount to smoke. Smoking one cigarette is less harmful than smoking 20 cigarettes. Smoking e-cigarettes, hookahs, chewing tobacco, smoking filtered or unfiltered cigarettes is taking into your body in every way a drug that creates an addiction, that steals your freedom. You’re forced to spend money every day on something you wouldn’t need,” says Kirchenchtein.
“Smoking is a pandemic. It was declared a pandemic in 1986 by the World Health Assembly. It is a problem that has been causing deaths all over the world. It currently accounts for 8 million deaths annually. Here in Brazil there are 162,000 deaths per year, they are highly preventable deaths”, warns Tânia Cavalcante, from Inca.
Source: CNN Brasil