SPAIN’S National Health System will finance for the first time, starting yesterday January 1, varenicline and bupropion, two pharmacological treatments to aid with overcoming smoking dependency.
The Spanish Ministry of Health notes that these two products come to complement other medication that are already offered by the primary healthcare service.
The prescription of these treatments will be done through electronic prescription for patients included in support programmes and who meet the established criteria: to have previously attempted to give up smoking in the last year, and smokes ten plus cigarettes per day with a high level of dependency.
The acting Minister of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare, María Luisa Carcedo, stressed that this is “an important step” in tackling smoking. “The success rate of smoking cessation in people who do it without help is 5% compared to 30-40% in those who follow a specific pharmacological treatment and have psychological support”, she explained.
Smoking is the main preventable public health problem in developed countries. Smoking is a determining factor in many diseases and the first cause of preventable morbidity and mortality.
The mortality rate in Spain alone is shocking, with 58,000 annual, tabacco-associated deaths recorded in Spain.
With these numbers in mind, Minister Carcedo recognises that it is necessary to “adopt structural measures” to aid with the prevention and control of smoking. Carcedo further highlights that 70 per cent of the population goes to their family doctor at least once a year, the most frequent patients being smokers, these visits offers an important opportunity to advise, motivate and provide effective help to those who have decided to quit.
Quitting smoking “is one of the best gifts one can give for one’s own health and that of those around.” Carcedo added.
According to the World Health Organisation:
The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing more than 8 million people a year around the world.
- Tobacco kills up to half of its users.
- Tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
- Around 80% of the world’s 1.1 billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.