Prevention & cessation of tobacco use

Title: Prevention and cessation of tobacco use

Year of Publication: 2003

Author: World Health Organization

Subject: Tobacco (a manual for clinic and community based interventions)

Summary: This manual is intended for people in reducing problems caused by tobacco. The damage caused by tobacco is so serious that everybody should really be interested in doing something about it. But this manual is for thos who want to do a little more than the “average citizen”.

Although tobacco is a deadly serious issue, the flavour of activities that are needed to prevent this spread does not have to be heavy and serious. Tobacco use is spread by making it look appealing, attractive, casual and fun. The preventive effort cannot allow itself to appear serious, heavy, boring and uninspiring. But for efforts to be sustained some amount of underlying seriousness is necessary.

We try to avoid the usual formats that make any activity look initially heavy or daunting. The approach used is therefore to give priority to the kinds of things that we need to say to people rather than to the means of organizing action groups, monitoring their activities, record keeping, and evaluating impact and so on. But we have integrated these ideas too, into the day to day actions that are proposed.

The manual is intended primarily for people who work in a health facility serving a “local” population. A doctor or nurse or someone else in the health facility can use the guidelines to create changes in the communities served by them. But people outside the medical or health profession too can use these guidelines effectively. The interventions can be implemented by any concern individual, and do not require special medical expertise.

The manual can be used for self instruction or for training. The activities suggested are for implementation at the level of local communities, not at national level. So the emphasis is on action relevant to a community or a clinic.

Chapteres1-5 covers general theoretical issues, chapter 6 preventive measures, and chapter 8 cession of tobacco use. Theoretical issues dealt within chapteres1-5 are restricted to basic information and background underlying recommendation for action. This overview of theory is not intended to be a comprehensive review of the existing studies.

There is a great deal of progress in the world, in understanding how the spread of the tobacco habit can be curtailed. Some of the opinions that are currently held are presented in chapters 1-5.
It is helpful to keep in touch with new development in the world even if we worked in a very remote location, or with just one small community.

The content in these 5 chapters will be mostly redundant to those who are familier with the basic issues in smoking prevention and cessecion. But the guidelines are meant to be used even by those who are not familiar with the subject, as a tool for training and monitoring activities. Someone who is already convinced of the need for action and familier with the basic issues can skip the rest of the introductory section, and move directly to the sections on prevention or cesssation.

Just reading through the manual should provide ideas for a person interested in taking practical measures to curtail and harm caused by tobacco use. But for maximum usefulness they should be used as a guide for action in stages, where an intervention suggested is carried out and then the next step taken up.