Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Only 4% of Czech attempts to give up smoking succeed

ČTK |
12 January 2017

Prague, Jan 11 (CTK) - The number of Czechs trying to give up smoking is one million a year but only 4 percent of them succeed, Eva Kralikova, from the Centre for tobacco addicts at the 1st Medical Faculty in Prague, has told Wednesday's issue of daily Pravo.

Most of those who try to quit smoking do so without consulting experts. That is why the success rate is a mere 4 percent, which means that four in hundred smokers remain non-smokers one year after stopping to smoke, Kralikova said.

The success rate of the patients of the Centre for tobacco addicts, which has been operating for 12 years now, is ten times higher, she said.

"We have treated almost 6,000 patients. Our success rate is 40 percent. It even reaches 60 to 70 percent if the patients take the prescribed medicine for six months," Kralikova said.

Tobacco addiction is a diagnosis, and it is difficult for smokers to give up the bad habit without any help. If they fail, they should seek assistance of experts, Kralikova said.

Assistance is provided by the Society for tobacco addiction treatment, which mediates contacts with 36 treatment centres, 200 specialists and 150 pharmacies offering consultations, Kralikova said.

The treatment of tobacco addiction in the specialised centres is free of charge, covered from health insurance. Some health insurers help their clients to cover the medicines costs as well, Pravo writes.

Like other states, the Czech Republic suffers financial losses due to smoking, the daily continues.

"Tobacco products sales cause a loss of 120 million crowns a year, and the death of about 16,000 people in the Czech Republic," Kralikova said.

The medical treatment costs make up less than a half of the total financial loss. The rest is caused by the work time smokers spend smoking, their more frequent sickness leaves and shorter economically active life, and also the fires caused by incautious smokers, which make up 7 percent of all fires, Kralikova said.

At the same time, the state collects about 60 billion crowns worth of the tobacco tax, but this is no contribution, because the smokers who had not bought cigarettes, would have invested their money otherwise, mostly in services, which would create new jobs and boost economy, Kralikova said.

Moreover, the state revenues would rise if fewer cigarettes were sold including a higher tax. It is therefore incomprehensible why the Czech tobacco tax stands at the minimum of what the EU requires and why the Czechs can buy twice as many cigarette packets for the average wage than 20 years ago, Kralikova said.

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