Smoking Cessation as a Public Health Intervention Assignment Help
The term “public health” prompts images of immunization clinics and disease investigation. Select one of the topics listed below and, in a 5-9 page critical analysis (not including title page and references), explain how it was a public health intervention. What people or organizations were involved? What methods used or how were outcomes achieved? What were the outcomes?
•Nationally standardized drinking age
•Occupational health and safety
•Countering opioid overdoses
•Seat belt use
•Disease detection and medical intelligence. Pls chose one, includes web site for reference.
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Introduction: Smoking as a public health issue
The extent to which smoking harms the general public health is quite extensive, since it threatens the life of not only the smokers but also the people who are passively inhaling the smoke continually. The prevalence of cigarette smoking is very high, and its health effects are extremely deleterious. The effects of smoking usually appear at the older ages among individuals, while there are many short-term adverse effects that may be experienced by them. These short-term effects are usually not as fatal as the long-term ones, but both are equally detrimental to the health of the public on a whole (Bonnie, Stratton and Kwan, 2015). If hard facts and data were to be considered, the risk of stroke and coronary heart diseases increases by two to four times in case of smokers, while the probability for lung cancer is as high as 25 times the scare for a non-smoker. In fact, almost any part of the body can be under the threat of cancer due to smoking, including pancreas, stomach, liver, and blood (CDC, 2018). In case of women, the vulnerability increases during pregnancy, as the toxic fumes from tobacco have the potential to harm not just the mother but also the unborn foetus.
Smoking of tobacco cigarettes generates significant quantities of oxidative stress, which consequently damages the protein structures, lipids and the DNA of our body cells (Bonnie, Stratton and Kwan, 2015). This is among one of the most important risk-factors that smokers should consider if they still do not wish to partake in the cessation methods.
These factors, when combined together, have made it necessary for the various institutions to undertake smoking cessation initiatives, as the act harms the smokers and also those around them.
Smoking cessation as a public health intervention
The benefits that quitting cigarettes have are numerous and highly significant. In order to make it possible for an intervention to impact its cessation rate at public levels, the methods must be effective. As noted by Zhu et al (2012), a list if cessation interventions had been selected by the Tobacco Control Monograph in the year 2000. The measures for primary interventions can be listed as – pharmacotherapy, quitlines, employer-based programmes, technology-based interventions, and healthcare systems. For the secondary measures to smoking cessation, specific policies were considered, including raising the price for tobacco products.
Pharmacotherapy: Nicotine patches are a form of pharmacotherapy. They are usually recommended in highly regulated levels. Nicotine gum is also one of the primary products that are used for quitting cigarettes. These interventions are now often available as over-the-counter drugs in many countries.
Quitlines:This is an evidence-based method that was used by a significant number of tobacco users, and the first of its kind was established in the US, in California, where an experimentally validated counselling protocol had been used. Quitlines are usually promoted by the public agencies rather than the pharmaceutical companies (Zhu, et al., 2012).
Technology-based interventions:A significant number of people seek information on smoking cessation via the internet. This makes the potential for technology-based interventions quite high when it comes to helping quit smoking. Many websites now undertake means to showcase the dangers associated with smoking, while many have resorted to emails, calls and text messages.
Healthcare providers: Physicians have perhaps the most important role when it comes to helping people quit smoking. Assistance in this case can be in the form of prescribing medicines to help quit smoking, along with behavioural counselling.
Employer-based cessation programmes:Most modern workplaces go beyond workplace safety and often have initiatives for the health and well-being of their employees. Employers can intervene in two ways – by introducing a smoking ban within the premises, and alternative options such as nicotine replacement therapy for coping with the quitting of cigarettes.
Role of media and second-hand policies:An increase in the price of cigarettes, mostly due to taxes, can help decrease the consumption of the tobacco products. This is because a high price will discourage people from starting to smoke, while forcing the existing smokers to at least reduce their consumption, if not completely quit smoking (Zhu, et al., 2012).
As reported by Centers for Disease Control(2005), most of the individuals who could successfully quit smoking did so with the use of self-help techniques, such as quitting abruptly. Most people among this group had been heavy smokers, and had an education more than just high school.
Media campaigns on large scales also have a positive impact on changing the attitude towards smoking. Group discussions have sometimes been seen as support systems that have helped many people quit smoking. The messages conveyed in such campaigns are usually numerous and in a repeated manner. Also, as stated earlier, counselling through physicians is often an important element in helping quit smoking, as it has the power to change the tobacco consumption levels and patterns of the individuals.
Efforts to prevent smoking in order to achieve long-term health benefits affects the economy as well. For every individual who starts to smoke, a significant amount starts piling up for their subsequent healthcare expenses. Schools and colleges should educate the youngsters on the dangers of using tobacco products, along with legislative changes that would restrict the sale and purchase of cigarettes, especially in case of minors.
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Factors associated with successful smoking cessation
As suggested by Lee and Kahende (2007), there are a certain number of dynamics that underly the decision and the action to quit smoking successfully. Intentions alone are not enough for the same, and there are various other factors that have a significant impact in encouraging the individual to give up tobacco. For instance, the following factors can be said to impact the efforts positively –
· Having a home where nobody smokes
· A no-smoking policy at the workplace
· Having a college education
· Being married or living with a partner
· Having only one attempt to quit in the entire lifetime
· Switching over to low-nicotine or nicotine-free options, such as e-cigarettes.
These factors are rather quite evident; having a smoke-free home or workplace automatically encourages the individual to give up cigarettes or adopt smoking cessation methods. In most cases, men have been able to quit successfully, although there have been claims that gender has nothing to do with the urge or rate of success of quitting tobacco (Lee and Kahende, 2007). The advent of alternatives such as vapes or electronic cigarettes have also been well-received by those trying to quit smoking.
Conclusion: The outcomes
Ever since the nicotine patches have become available, data from both the US and the UK reveal that the usage of smoking cessation methods has increased significantly (Zhu, et al., 2012). The number of people who used the patches in an attempt to give up smoking had gone up by a whopping 32 per cent when compared to the situation ten years back. This was the situation in the US, while in the UK, there was more than a 61 per cent increase in the use of such medical methods for smoking cessation among individuals. Perhaps the policy changes related to smoking were the primary reason as to why such a drastic change had occurred. Furthermore, the quitline number began to be posted majorly on the packs of cigarettes, the implementation of which increased gradually in volume. This quitline reminds people that they need to stop smoking.
There has also been a significant increase in the number of people seeking medical intervention and assistance from the healthcare sector. There have been reports of attempts to be involved with physicians to quit smoking. In some cases, the influence of doctors together with quitlines have been instrumental in speeding up the rate for quitting tobacco (Zhu, et al., 2012). The number of people who have been able to quit smoking with the help of these cessation methods consist mainly of males, and thus the high-risk populations need to be specifically targeted by the public health departments.
The efforts to promote the cessation of smoking, along with the development of various interventions, have increased massively in the past couple of decades. Pharmacotherapy has been sufficiently successful, and research on this arena has been further accompanied by guidelines that urge people to embrace these treatments. The cessation rates are expected to keep increasing, as more and more people become aware of the health effects and dangers of the tobacco products.
Thus, as is evident from the above analysis, efforts have been made to help with smoking cessation as one of the initiatives for public health intervention, and there has been promising results after the implementation of the various policies and efforts. Quitting cigarettes is a lot more difficult than most people imagine, since the addiction to nicotine is real and the withdrawal effects felt from it can be discouraging. The field of smoking cessation needs to continue its research in more effective and innovative methods to help people quit the dangerous habit, and develop methods where the odds of quitting for the smokers are higher than what they are at present.
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