Everyone (almost) already is familiar of the harmful and dangerous effects of smoking: approximately 350 hazardous substances and about 70 substances defined as carcinogenic to humans are found in each puff. Everybody also knows that smoking harms all physical systems and causes a variety of diseases in blood vessels and cancer. But everyone also knows that’s not enough to quit.
But: Did you know that in the last three years more than 100,000 people in Israel managed to quit smoking and start breathing fresh air again?
Ministry of Health’s video clips 2018:
It’s true, quitting smoking can be difficult, if not impossible, without prior preparation, professional support or medication. And all of this support and assistance is available to you as smokers at your HMO – a large part of them for free.
Workshops for quitting smoking at HMOs – free of charge
Joining a smoking cessation workshop is the most effective way to quit smoking and it is offered for free through HMOs. During the workshop, smokers learn about their personal smoking habits through monitoring and making notes and they learn to change their old habits and adopt new ones. The smoking cessation workshops take place across the country, in several languages and are adapted to different groups in the population. There are about eight meetings in this workshop, once a week and they are guided by smoking cessation specialists.
Prescription medication for withdrawal relief – at a reduced subsidized price
Workshop participants receive personal guidance on the use of prescription medications and have the right to purchase them at a subsidized price; nicotine substitutes are also available (patches, gum or lozenges), which are sold over the counter.
And mostly – it is important to know and remember what you can gain
Feeling better: an overall improvement in the way you feel will begin within two days of quitting smoking, leftovers of nicotine are expelled from the body and the sense of smell and taste improve; after a week, the heart starts pumping blood richer in oxygen; after two months the bones get stronger; after two and a half months the skin becomes smoother, the hair healthier and teeth whiter; after four months coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath lessen.
The risks of illness and mortality also decrease over the years, after one year of smoking cessation, the risk of heart attack decreases by 50% compared to those who still smoke, after five years the risk of stroke equates to never smoking, after 10 years the risk of lung cancer drops to 25% compared to those who still smoke and after 15 years of smoking cessation the risk of heart disease compares to those who have never smoked. And this is without mentioning the annoyances that come along with cigarettes: the smell, the big financial expense, the unpleasantness at work and having to go out to smoke in the rain or scorching heat.