Health ministry offers free counselling services to quit smoking

Statistics show that approximately 12% of 11 year old boys and 11% of girls admit to smoking, locally

The health promotion and disease directorate will be providing free counselling services for persons who want to quit smoking, on occasion of the WHO’s World No Tobacco Day, today on the 31st May.

The day highlights the health risks associated with tobacco use and sees cessation support to smokers and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption all around the world.

The support sessions will be available every Wednesday evening at Floriana and Mosta Health Centre with the collaboration of the primary health care sector.

In addition, smoking cessation programmes are provided for employees at the place of work. This five week educational programme is delivered by trained health professionals who help employees to develop the skills to set a quit date and quit smoking within a supportive environment, the statement by the directorate explains.

The directorate works with other stakeholders in order to participate in various outreach activities to reach as many people as possible.

It adds that a social media campaign will be running through out June to emphasize prevention, protection from passive smoking and support available for smokers to quit: #quittobacco. Tobacco use is still an important public health challenge in Malta. 

The percentage of young adults who smoke at least once a week, at the age of 15 years is still worrisome. Approximately 12% of 11 year old boys and 11% of girls admit to smoking. For 13 year olds, there is a smoking rate of 11% for boys and 13% for girls (Health Behaviour in School Aged Children, 2014). 

It is known that the duration of smoking influences smoking-related health problems and that only a small number of adolescents who try to quit smoking succeed. Most smokers take up the behaviour before the age of 25 years.

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is the primary international framework for building effective tobacco control through legislation to safeguard the health and well being of the general public. The EU Tobacco Products Directive came into force in Malta on 20th May of this year. In line with the FCTC, this Directive regulates manufacturing, sales and presentation of tobacco products.

Those interested in the events are urged to contact the directorate on 23266000 or [email protected].

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