UGM Faculty of Medicine commemorated the annual World No Tobacco Day this year by organizing a webinar that focused on building commitment to smoking cessation during the pandemic. Among the speakers, Professor Yayi Suryo Prabandari stated that quitting smoking was a difficult decision for quitters. Hence it required people around them, such as family, community, and health services, to help during the process.
“The process of quitting smoking is effective in the first six months, existing literature reviews suggest. They need continuous motivation and further assistance after that,” said Yayi, Monday (31/5).
There are many programs and strategies to help smoking quitters go through the process, for instance, implementing and strengthening non-smoking areas. After that, it is also necessary to advocate for others to have similarly designated areas, participate in the development and supervision of the program, and monitor tobacco use and communicate how to prevent it.
“Optimize the support for smoking cessation and warn the community of the dangers tobacco poses,” she added.
She mentioned that increasing cigarette excise and eliminating tobacco-related ads, promotion, and sponsorship might also help. The government had to be involved in the affairs as they had the power to make decisions. All elements needed to play their part.
“Quitters need the support from the surrounding community. Sometimes the environment is less supportive when someone tries to stop. Hence strengthening the commitment to stop tobacco addiction becomes necessary,” she said.
Another speaker of the webinar, Retna Siwi Padmawati, conveyed that establishing a rule that banned all family members and guests smoke in the house could be among the means to realize the smoke-free home initiative. People could stop providing ashtrays at home, determined not to smoke in community meetings, in front of children, pregnant women, and the elderly. Building a smoking room in the house or village was also one of the options available.
“Keep the family away from the exposure of cigarettes as children have the potential to imitate. Prevent them from becoming smokers by quitting first,” said Retna.
On the same occasion, Bagas Suryo Bintoro added that smokers have a greater risk of experiencing severe cases and dying from Covid-19. Thus, he urged them to stop smoking immediately to reduce the risk. Bagas explained that the first step was to plant a determination to quit. It was recommended for aspiring smoking quitters to identify their regular times and situations of smoking and ask for family support. Next, they could get into the habit of not smoking, resist the tobacco cravings by delaying time to smoke, exercise regularly, and consult a doctor/health facility for smoking cessation tips and services.
“It is never too late to stop. Quitting smoking will be beneficial for health and deserves the support from all parties,” he concluded.