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Stop smoking programme launched

October 3rd, 2006 at 03:27 am


Whoever said quitters never win, perhaps never had a clue that quitting can be a good thing. According to Winston Seale, an Orthopaedic Surgeon by profession at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and guest speaker at a recent session held by the Barbados Breathe Free Association, good things can happen when smokers stop smoking. Seale was speaking recently at the Opening Ceremony and Pre-Quitting Session of the Barbados Breathe Free Associations Stop Smoking Programme.

The programme, which will officially come into being on October 10, is being held in association with Sagicor Life Inc.

Seale told interested parties gathered at the Savannah Hotel in Hastings on Sunday, that there are 1.1 billion smokers in the world. By the year 2020, he said, studies suggest that the worldwide death toll due to smoking will be somewhere in the region of ten million. There is no part of the body which smoking does not affect, Seale has cautioned, noting that the effects will be manifested in different organ systems of the body, depending on the length of time spent smoking, and the frequency.

However, it is never too late to stop smoking, Seale has assured. There is positive hope and recovery even for long-term smokers who quit, since persons can gradually reverse much of the damage caused to bodily organs from the day they quit, Seale said. Outlining some of the good things that can happen to quitters, Seale has remarked that the carbon monoxide and nicotine levels in the body begin to decline within hours or days after the last cigarette. The cilia lining of the bronchial tree begins to grow back and a smokers cough disappears within a year after cessation. After ten to 15 years of quitting, the risk of developing cancer or heart disease gradually returns to nearly that of a non-smoker.

Meanwhile, Sagicor representative Juanita Blackman has lamented the marked increase in health insurance costs being paid out by her company. The company pays out twenty million dollars in claims annually, she says, noting that to date there are 20 000 insured lives. This presents a major challenge for the company.

In speaking about the nine-day Stop Smoking programme, President of the Barbados Breathe Free Association, George Best has noted that the programme will be in the form of a series of lectures and sessions to be delivered each night at 7:30 p.m. at the L.V. Harcourt Lewis Training Centre, at the Public Workers Credit Union, Belmont Road. The dates for the sessions are October 10, 12, 15, 16, 17, 19, 23, 26 and 30. Individuals will not be condemned for their decision to smoke, the Association says, but will be provided with avenues based on a programme tested and proven in the US to successfully quit for good.

The programme is being hosted by the Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Church, and David Beckles, President of the East Caribbean Con-ference of Seventh-Day Adventist, says the programme is one designed to restore and prevent. Noting that the SDA church has always been in the forefront of health reform, he expressed the hope that not only lives will be healed through the programme, but more homes will be happy.

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