Abu Dhabi: The smoking cessation clinics of the health ministry recorded an increase in the quitting rate from 10 per cent last year to 20 per cent this year, Abdul Rahman Mohammad Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention told the Federal National Council on Tuesday.
Al Owais was responding to a question raised by Saeed Saleh Al Rumaithi, a member from Abu Dhabi, about the progress achieved by the Anti-Tobacco Committee.
Last year, the UAE Cabinet approved the formation of an Anti-Tobacco Committee to coordinate nationwide efforts to reduce tobacco use.
The committee is also tasked with developing a database on the use of tobacco and its products and international tobacco trade.
Al Owais said the number of smoking cessation clinics increased from six to 14 across the country and the number of patients visiting these clinics increased by 25 per cent between 2015 and 2016.
Globally, the quitting rate is between 10 and 20 per cent.
The minister added that the number of smoking cessation physicians grew by 150 per cent and the ministry provides new drugs to help patients quit smoking.
Al Owais also spoke of the iQuit mobile clinics, where smokers can register their details and paste a fingerprint sticker on a board as part of their pledge to quit. The level of carbon monoxide in their lungs is recorded through a breath test, and blood pressure and BMI details are also recorded at the clinic.
The smoking cessation clinics under the ministry follow up with them and offer assistance. Medication is free for Emiratis while expats are charged nominally.
The minister also spoke of campaigns to help teenagers quit smoking. The campaigns focused on young adults through initiatives such as free health check-ups, presentations, plays, workshops and seminars.
The members also demanded that the number of emergency physicians at hospitals be increased and work hours at physiotherapy clinics be extended.