World No Tobacco Day: How Monaco is cutting down on smoking
World No Tobacco Day is an opportunity to learn about the risks of smoking, for both smokers and their relatives. Mohamed Mouhssine, a tobacologist at the CHPG, gives details on the program to help smokers cut down and raise awareness among youth.
In 1988, the World Health Organization organized World No Tobacco Day, which takes place every 31 May. An opportunity to focus on tobacco control in Monaco. Dr. Mohamed Mouhssine, a tobacco scientist at the Princess Grace Hospital, gave us an update.
Recent measures against smoking
Monaco has recently implemented several measures against smoking. At the end of 2016, the Principality decided to take part in the “Tobacco-Free” initiative. Since last year and every year from now on, the month of November will be a campaign period against smoking. Urban signage and pharmacy kits which help smokers cut down are some measures which will come back next year.
Five years to make a difference
“We launched a five-year tobacco control plan.” Since October 2016, the Directorate of Health Action and tobacco scientists at the CHPG will be working together as part of this plan until 2021. Dr. Mohamed Mouhssine is participating and defining its outlines. “There are two major axes: prevention among young people, to protect them from trying tobacco products, and helping them quit.” At the level of prevention, he and his colleagues carry out preventive operations during classes at CM2, in the colleges and at the technical and hotel school. “The objective is also to prohibit advertising in stores and near schools.”
Helping people stop smoking is something Dr. Mouhssine knows how to do. Notably, by quantifying the damage of smoking in France: “78,000 deaths are caused by tobacco in France every year, 5,000 of which are due to second-hand smoke.” Tobacco is also responsible for 90% of lung cancers in France. With these alarming figures, the CHPG offers a telephone hotline in partnership with a tobacco info-service as well as consultations with a tobacco specialist, a dietician and a psychologist, to help with quitting.
The Caisses Sociales of Monaco provide smokers with a reimbursement package of 150 euros per calendar year, for treatment to help them cut down. This might help those who have trouble deciding whether or not to stop smoking.
A booth at the CHPG
On World No Tobacco Day, a booth was set up at the CHPG. Its purpose was to inform the public about the risks of smoking. Smokers could also find information and aids for quitting and cutting down.