Clinic touts non-drug sessions for smokers

Non-pharmacological, or psychological therapy, used at a clinic for people who wish to quit smoking, is an important method to help people stop smoking, experts say.

Sahid Sahirman Memorial Hospital smoking clinic team leader Yusrahma Nurina said that psychosocial influences may lead to nicotine addiction.

“The social environment can strengthen nicotine effects,” she said at a recent press conference at the hospital.

A chained hand with a cigarette

A chained hand with a cigarette

She said some ex-smokers usually faced greater temptations when they returned to their old, smoker-dominated social environment.

According to research by the University of Minnesota School of Medicine and School of Public Health, smokers desiring to become nonsmokers need to enlarge their social group to include more non-smoking contacts, as well as to learn and use coping strategies to prevent relapse in the presence of smokers.

Yusrahma said that out of 70 percent smokers who wanted to quit, only five to 10 percent could successfully stop without psychological help.

“That is why we are mostly providing psychological treatment at our clinic,” Yusrahma said.

She said the clinic offered a program that cost Rp 3.7 million (US$432) for three months of treatment.

The program includes individual consultations with cardiologist to provide a pathopychiological approach and consultation with a psychiatrist for psychological motivation.

Cardiologist Aulia Sani said a combination of non-pharmacological and pharmacological therapy could provide more effective results than pharmacological therapy alone. “The clinic will also offer Varenicline for pharmacological treatment.”

Varenicline is a prescription medication used to treat smoking addiction. As a partial agonist, it both reduces cravings for and decreases the pleasurable effects of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Aulia said that there were many types of pharmacological treatments for smoking addiction, including nicotine replacement therapy with patches, gum, lozenges, oral inhalers and nasal spray.

Nicotine, the primary psychoactive chemical in tobacco, is believed to be psychologically addictive, although it does not engender a psychological dependency. Aulia said that statistics have shown that each cigarette smoked shortens the user’s lifespan by 11 minutes.

“There are around 4,000 chemicals in cigarettes, in which 250 are dangerous and 50 can cause cancer,” Aulia said at the press conference.

Smoking can lead to chronic bronchitis, stroke, cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer and emphysema — a long-term, progressive lung disease that primarily causes shortness of breath, he said. Data released by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that with 62.8 million smokers, Indonesia is home to the third largest number of smokers in the world, topped only by China and India. Indonesia sells around 215 billion cigarettes per year.

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