HomeLifeWHO published recommendations to stop using tobacco

WHO published recommendations to stop using tobacco

The body advises the use of drugs combined with behavioral therapy

The World Health Organization (WHO) published this Tuesday its first guidelines for quitting tobacco use, a set of recommendations for the more than 750 million people who want to give up the harmful habit.

More than 60 percent of the world's 250 billion tobacco users (about 750 million people) want to quit, but 70 percent cannot access effective services to help them due to lack and the scarcity of resources in health systems.

In the guidelines, the agency recommends a broad set of interventions that encompass behavior change support provided by health professionals, electronic resources and pharmacological treatments.

According to experts, combining pharmacological treatment with behavioral interventions contributes to significantly increasing success rates in quitting tobacco use.

They emphasize that low- and middle-income countries should provide these treatments at no or reduced cost to those who need them to make them more accessible.

The WHO recommends varenicline, nicotine replacement therapy, bupropion and cytisine as effective treatments for tobacco cessation.

In April 2024, it prequalified the first two drugs for nicotine replacement therapy: gum and the nicotine patch from the company Kenvue.

The health agency suggests behavioral interventions, such as brief counseling (30 seconds to three minutes) by professionals as a resource that is systematically offered in health facilities, along with more personalized support for behavior change to those interested, through counseling individually or in a group.

This can be complemented by sending text messages to the phone and with other resources that involve active patient participation, such as smartphone applications and Internet programs.

WHO encourages health professionals, policy makers and stakeholders to incorporate and implement these guidelines to promote tobacco cessation and improve the health of millions of people around the world.

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