Hospital to continue quit-course for smokers

| 11/12/2014

(CNS): Some five years after the Cayman government implemented the tobacco law banning smoking in public buildings and other areas the minister of health was still concerned recently that too many people are smoking. He said the island may even have to consider a complete smoking ban to stop people smoking as the limited ban and the high price, Osbourne Bodden said had still not stopped people smoking. But before that is on the table the hospital is trying to help smokers quit. Following the first course of its kind this year, fifty percent of the people who participated in the new smoking cessation programme, and who completed the course, managed to kick the habit, which has spurred organisers to prepare a second similar programme in February.

The stop smoking course was run by Cayman Islands Health Services Authority’s (HSA) Public Health Department. Called ‘I Can Quit’, the first programme was launched in June, just after the annual World Tobacco Day Designed to empower smokers to break the habit through a combined effort that included a variety of support services.

It ran for seven weeks and began with 13 participants, who were both HSA staff and members of the general public. Out of the 13, eight completed the course and four successfully quit smoking and three others have cut down, officials said.

Lizzette Yearwood, Chief Executive Officer said the results were extremely encouraging.
“Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease around the world, killing six million people every year,” she said. “The most current report from America’s Surgeon General’s recommends providing access to cessation treatments, and expanding these services for all smokers, so our focus has been to assist smokers using a comprehensive programme that targets the multiple factors associated with why a person continues to smoke. We are absolutely delighted that for those participants who have managed to conquer their addiction may now go on to leading a far healthier life.”

The Cayman Islands has its own worrying statistics on the smoking habits of residents. The 2012 Cayman Islands Government Chronic Disease Risk Factor Survey, known as the ‘Healthy Nation’ survey, found that 15% of the population’s 25-64 year olds smoked tobacco, with men twice as likely as women to do so. Among those who smoked 67% did so daily. For both men and women, smokers started smoking tobacco at an average age of 20 and those aged 25-34 years started smoking at approximately 18 years of age. Daily smokers have an average of 11 cigarettes per day.

“The ‘I Can Quit’ programme was therefore a timely intervention and plays an integral part of the HSA’s overall chronic disease management programme,” Yearwood added.

Therese Prehay, Health Promotion Officer of the Public Health Department and a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist, coordinated the ‘I Can Quit’ programme and explained the objectives of the course. 

“Smokers learned about the triggers and how to conquer them, as well as how to cope with withdrawal symptoms,” Prehay said. “We offered participants medication to help them quit their addiction and remain smoke free along with group support”.

At each weekly session, participants had their weight, blood pressure and carbon monoxide levels in the lungs and blood measured.

“Three participants whose combined initial nicotine levels averaged 25.7 declined to as little as 6.7 per person at the end of programme. This effort represents a 285% improvement from the initial baseline and is particularly impressive,” Prehay said. “All participants who completed the programme were extremely satisfied with the many different aspects of the curriculum. The positive feedback impacted the programme tremendously, so we very much look forward to presenting the next programme early next year.”

People interested in quitting smoking should contact the Public Health Department on tel. 244-2889/244-2648, or email to register by January 14th 2015 for the next programme which begins on February 4 2015.

Visit for more information and services offered at the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I will never stop smoking Cuban Cigars. If that means I have to leave my home, then so be it

  2. Anonymous says:

    What does Mr. Bodden have to say about medical marijuana?….silence….

    There is much scientific and anecdotal evidence to support the use of medical marijuana.

    Also, marijuana is far less dangerous than the copious amounts of alcohol consumed by many!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Minister Bodden might put his money where his mouth is by stopping the sale of cigarettes at his gas station then! No?

  4. Anonymous says:

    ozzie….whats your opinion on the health of employees that work in government legalised cigar bars?????

    • Anonymous says:

      9:12, Ozzie is too busy dealing with severe anger management issues right now to anwer you.

  5. Anonymous says:

    All Doctors at HSA has special protection as per section 13 – So they do what they want?

    OMG! Both private and HSA doctors are held to the same qualifications, but the HSA doctors – you can't sue? Why is that? What is so special about them?


    I had a doctor at the HSA misdiagnose me in 2008. He admit he was workign ina  field of medicine of which he was not qualified….So I went to the specialist clinic a week ago and ask for the same services—GUEss what, they referred me to the same HSA DOCTOR?????


    I called the medical director and asked his secretary to call me–to date he hasn't called????

    Caymanians, you better off using herbal remidies or ……………………..

  6. Anonymous says:

    Mr Bodden why are you talking about a ban on smoking cigarettes !  Have you not seen what happened in New York  City a few weeks ago , because of  TAX , he lost his life .  This would cause many problems in Cayman .   The lost revenues to Government ,  and  creates a black market ,  then what happens to the visitors that come to Cayman  and can't have a cigarette  for a day or a week ,  I really think that you have bigger issues to work on in the health of everyone , like the Garbage Dump . 

  7. Anonymous says:

    Chronic MOLD exposure is a million times worse than cigarette Smoking!!!!!


    YET the Government kept OUR Caymanian people int he OLD Glass House- Knowing well it was Chronically contaminated by MOLD????

    Kinda defeats trying to keep its people healthy -HUH?


    The effects of that mistake will be felt and manifested for many years to come within our population………………Who knows, even birth defects for those pregnant women who were exposed………

    • Anonymous says:

      Not only the glass house my seat, there is mold right in our schools .