Aga Khan Hospital begins smoking counselling

Smoking Cessation

Over the past four decades, smoking rates have fallen in rich countries like the United States, Britain and Japan but have been rising in much of the developing world,” Reuters write. Though Kenya has enacted legislation against smoking in public places, Global Smokefree Partnership and the American Cancer Society (ACS) Africa faces a surge in cancer deaths unless action is taken in the next decade to stem rising smoking levels in a continent where anti-tobacco laws remain rare. In addition, nearly 90 per cent of people on the continent remain without meaningful protection from secondhand smoke. 

Nairobi smoking cessation counselling
Good news is there is now a support programe to help smokers who want to quit.
 The first step deals with the psychological dependence. “Smokers have to quit the psychological dependence first.” says Dr Dennis Nturibi, the Senior House Officer, Accident and Emergency department at the hospital.

This is associated with the environmental circumstances surrounding the person.” With the help of a counsellor, medics are then able to determine where the desire to smoke emanates from,” he says.

Consequently, the psychologists then move towards assisting the smokers to refrain from physical addiction of nicotine. In this second step, the patient is placed on a temporary nicotine replacement therapy including nicotine patches, inhalers and nasal spray among others to replace the amount (s)he took in daily.

In the final step the patient is placed in a support group such as close family members. The patient also receives medication to lessen the pleasurable effects of nicotine and counter the side effects of nicotine withdrawal. “The smoking cessation process is purely voluntary and treatment varies from patient to patient,” Dr Nturibi says.

Nicotine replacement therapies

To help yourself quit, it is strongly recommend that you use a nicotine replacement product in combination with counselling. According to M. D. Anderson experts there are a number of nicotine replacement products.

The patch gives you a steady stream of nicotine that helps cut down on the highs and lows of nicotine withdrawal.

Gum is a great way to keep your mouth busy without a cigarette. It gives you small doses of nicotine when you need it. Gum and lozenges also are good for people who are habitual about when they smoke cigarettes.


Lozenges came onto the market after the gum to help people who have trouble using the gum correctly. It is great for habitual smokers to indulge in while having a cup of coffee or to soothe themselves during a stressful moment.

Nasal Spray

The nasal spray is like many sprays you might use for a runny nose or allergies. The nasal spray is a single shot of nicotine. It works faster than the gum or lozenge, and unlike the patch, it can be used exactly when your craving hits.

Inhalers work fast like the nasal spray and certainly faster than the gum and lozenge. Inhalers gives you a measured amount of nicotine the instant you need it, but, it isn’t quite as harsh as the nasal spray.

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