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In terms of public health and tobacco prevention: Enough is just enough!

19 de março de 2012

Enough is enough

Marcos Nascimento, MD.

In addressing the tobacco control policies that promote smoking cessation, we can separate them into two groups:

a) Public Health Approaches: are increasing attempts to stop smoking:

  • Increased taxation;
  • Regulations to restrict smoking in public places and workplaces;
  • The Campaign of mass media.

b) Approach in Healthcare: increased rates of smoking cessation:

  • Help / Treatment Smokers.

Evidently tobacco addiction is a multidimensional phenomenon. Thus a proper treatment should include dimensions beyond pharmacological while also addressing the issues of psychological and behavioral addiction. Tell that to treat smokers just put drugs in the pharmacy is a popular reductionism overwhelming.

From the perspective of public health strategies we have to be more cost-effective. If a country have little money, it naturally must to select priorities within the priorities and see which option expense is the best. Of all the strategies listed the most cost-effective policies are smoke free environments.

The countries who are enrolling in a upward trend in the prevalence of tobacco related diseases like lung cancer, cardio vascular diseases and COPD, etc, can not afford to lose the way in terms of tobacco control. Some countries like Australia, Canada, Uruguay and Brazil are giving good examples about tobacco control and Pulbic Health issues.

In order to draw the attention of managers of public and private health for the cause, I have recently published in this website an article titled “The Smoking math formula: ” Smoking = COPD + P
ie., smoking is a generator of Cardiac, Oncologic, Pulmonary Diseases + Pediatric and calls attention to COPD, a disease underdiagnosed with high personal and economic impacts which are now the 3rd death cause in US.

Thus didactical formula Indicates the need for an early & all-embracing approach to smoking because it generates 52 other diseses and produces a huge financial resources scrap, including reducing the productivity of businesses – And just like the tobacco disease, the finance costs are also preventable. Thus the necessity to  early involve children and young people in prevention education with the creation of aplications (Apps), games and cartoons, as proposed in the “children’s story Zoo Logic?”

We can justify, rationalize, and pontificate about individual freedom all we want, but in the tobacco prevention there is “the role of nicotine,” that imposes a high and uncontrolled addiction, and if we go for this process, we will stick our heads in the sand.

The reality is cruel because millions of people are suffering and dying unnecessarily every day. We have the collective means to do something about it with minimal personal sacrifice. Thus, we can keep walking and trying to solve the problem accepting the necessity of public smoke free environments.

In fact, we achieved some important gains in preventing smoking-related diseases in the latest years.  But in terms of public health: Enough can be just enough!

Mainly, because the Life is in the game!

So, Enough is enough. It’s time to step up!

With All Respect,
Marcos Nascimento,MD
Medicine Professor

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