Batac: Gov’t hospitals help Ilocanos quit smoking


Department of Health-run hospitals in the Ilocos Region are offering free consultations and have set up a hotline to help smokers quit.

DOH-Ilocos Region program manager Erwin Baclig Jr., in a forum hosted by the Philippine Information Agency-Ilocos Region on Friday, said they have intervention programs like the Brief Tobacco Intervention (BTI) with trained staff in health centers and government hospitals.

“Through this, smokers are encouraged to quit within 30 days,” he said.

Baclig said smokers who want to kick the habit may also call the 155-8 hotline for counseling.

“We help them identify the BTI support person for each tobacco user who will help them and remind them to quit on that specified date. They may either be their parents or friends,” DOH medical officer Dr. Amia Joy Siganay said.

Siganay said smoking is addictive due to its nicotine content.

“It is difficult to remove it. Once the nicotine level of the person goes down, it triggers the brain to crave for more,” she said.

However, Siganay said quitting smoking has a lot of benefits, including the decrease in the risk of non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses, which are among the top 10 causes of death in the region in 2022.

She said quitting smoking also allows people to save money and use it for worthwhile things.

Baclig expressed concern on the proliferation of vaping as a substitute to smoking, which he said is as harmful as the traditional way. (Hilda Austria)

(Source: Philippine News Agency)

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