Quit Smoking! WHO Releases First-Ever Treatment Guidelines to Stop Tobacco Usage in Adults

The World Health Organization has recently published its first guidelines for tobacco cessation treatment.

Smoking is an addiction that requires the utmost determination to quit. Smoking is one of the most common forms of tobacco use. Tobacco contains several cancer-causing chemicals and has adverse effects on the body as a whole. According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 60 percent of the world’s 1.25 billion smokers (more than 750 million people) want to quit smoking, but 70 percent lack access to effective smoking cessation services. This time, WHO has published its first-ever tobacco cessation treatment guidelines. The recommendations are aimed at all adults who want to stop using tobacco in any form.

“The immense struggle faced by people trying to quit smoking cannot be overstated. We must deeply appreciate the strength it takes and the suffering endured by individuals and their loved ones to overcome this addiction,” said Dr Rüdiger Krech, WHO Director of Health Promotion. “These guidelines are designed to help communities and governments provide the best possible support and assistance to those embarking on this difficult journey.”

5 key points from WHO treatment guidelines

  1. The recommendations are relevant to all adults seeking to quit using a variety of tobacco products, including cigarettes, waterpipes, smokeless tobacco products, cigars, roll-your-own tobacco, and heated tobacco products (HTP).
  2. WHO recommends varenicline, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), bupropion and cytisine as effective treatments for smoking cessation.
  3. According to the guidelines, authorities have also listed behavioural interventions, including brief counselling by health care workers (30 seconds to 3 minutes) that would be routinely offered in health care settings.
  4. More intensive behavioural support (individual, group or telephone counselling) should be available for interested users.
  5. In addition, digital interventions such as text messages, smartphone apps, and Internet programs can be used as adjuncts or self-management tools.
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