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Help Smokers Quit: Assistance Programs All Talk and No Action

First Posted: Jun 24, 2013 11:28 AM EDT

Helping stop smokers put down the pack may be more difficult than using e-cigarettes or giving up cold turkey, and government programs available to assist nicotine addicts may not be doing their part to prevent the problem. In fact, according to a recent study, more than half of the countries who signed the WHO 2005 framework Convention on Tobacco Control have no formed plans to help tobacco users quit.

A press release notes that the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), a treaty developed to aid the global tobacco epidemic that's literally killing up to 5 million people a year, came about back in 2005, combining 175 countries in the hopes that each would develop plans to help tobacco users stop tobacco use in their country based on scientific evidence of the dangers from smoking and other forms of tobacco use.

However, two surveys from 121 countries from the WHO FCTC show that more than half of these countries have, unfortunately, have not developed any plans yet to help aid tobacco users quit.

To add to that, just 53 of the 121 countries surveyed reported having any treatment guidelines, and only one-fifth of the countries surveyed had a dedicated budget for treating tobacco dependence.

"Tobacco dependence treatment is a very inexpensive way of saving lives, much cheaper and more effective than many of the clinical services routinely provided by health systems worldwide," said Professor Robert West, Editor-in-Chief of the scientific journal Addiction, regarding results of the study. "These reports map out for the first time the work that needs to be done to make this treatment accessible to those who could benefit from it. I hope they will be a spur to action."

Further findings regarding the study can be found in the journal Addiction

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