(CNS Local Life): As part of continuing efforts at preventative care, the Health Services Authority (HSA) is stressing that all of its facilities, including the Cayman Islands Hospital and district health centres, are designated smoke-free zones. HSA CEO Lizzette Yearwood said the healthcare provider is strengthening its mission to improve the health of the Cayman Islands population.
That focus entails continuously working to decrease the incidence and adverse effects of chronic non-communicable diseases including some forms of cancer, which are directly linked to tobacco use, stated an HSA press release.
“We’re a healthcare provider that cares very much for the welfare and wellbeing of our patients, staff and all residents in our community and, quite simply, we want to encourage people not to smoke and help them lead healthier lives,” said Yearwood.
As part of this initiative, the HSA offers free counselling for individuals who want to stop smoking. “We are increasing awareness about the benefits of quitting smoking and as always we encourage individuals to give up smoking through programmes such as those offered through our Public Health Department (PHD) that advises them on how to quit,” she said.
Dr Samuel Williams Rodriguez, Director of Primary Healthcare, said the smoking-cessation classes have been very successful in providing support to individuals and families, through counselling; education; pharmacology; social, behavioural and motivational intervention; and intervention for people who have not readily decided to quit. More than 120 persons have already benefited from the programme.
The free sessions are held twice annually in February and May with classes on Wednesday from 5:15pm to 6:45pm in the PHD at the hospital. The classes are open to all members of the public, including families and individuals who are non-smokers but who wish to learn how they can help and support friends and loved ones in living tobacco-free. The programme is most beneficial when smokers attend, said the press release.
Basil Hennings of George Town, who had been a smoker for 50 years, is now a strong advocate for those with nicotine addiction to participate in the sessions. “The programme offers a supportive environment and has helped me to lead a much healthier lifestyle,” he said. “I have been smoke-free now for one year, two months and one week and I am forever grateful to the dedicated group of professionals who oversee the facilitation of this process to smokers.”
Health Promotion Officer Therese Prehay added, “It is essential that individuals are given as much encouragement as possible to stop smoking and the smoking-cessation classes provides a supporting environment for those who struggle with nicotine addiction with behavioural and cessation specialists and administrative personnel dedicated to the health and well-being of all.
“We realise it may be a decision that is uncomfortable for some people and we ensure that our sessions are geared towards providing valuable tools, information and reinforcing the worth of every individual whilst promoting a holistic approach to good health.”
Anyone interested in quitting smoking has until 28 May to register for the next session of the “I Can Quit” programme, which begins on 30 May.
For more information on the programme, call Sarah Frederick on 244-2889
Category: Medical and Health