10th March – No Smoking Day. Observed every year on the second Wednesday of March, this is a day of awareness of the harm caused to humans by smoking. For both – health professionals and health consumers the risks posed by chronic smoking are not new. While it has many negative implications, it is known as an overwhelming contributor to cancer.
We came across this interesting article (Prochazka, 1988) – that discusses the role of a physician in helping patients quit smoking. It says that physicians traditionally focused on those patients who are already ill from smoking, rather than practicing primary prevention on healthy smokers. An identification of early smoking habits, coupled with intervention techniques like counseling and preventing relapse can reduce smoking rates by 5-15% . It suggests anticipatory guidance, educating people about the disruptive nature of smoking, assisting with quitting efforts, and arranging follow-up visits.
While we are sure that lots more efforts have been taken by physicians and health professionals in educating patients, this day is a reminder that health professionals can play a great role in helping smokers quit and of course – cigarette consumers can give up – if they decide to!
Prochazka, A. V., & Boyko, E. J. (1988). How physicians can help their patients quit smoking. A practical guide. The Western journal of medicine, 149(2), 188–194.