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Free screenings for smokers: Preventative measure for saving lives

Free screenings for smokers: Preventative measure for saving lives

Image source: © canva
Maja Kozłowska,
06.02.2024 13:15

The Ministry of Health reports that more than one-fifth of Poles have a compulsive smoking habit. This addiction leads to 60,000 deaths per year caused by smoking cigarettes.

Cigarettes are a widely used but highly hazardous stimulant. According to the Ministry of Health's report in 2019, up to 21% of Poles admitted to being regular smokers. However, it is worth noting that the number of individuals identifying themselves as compulsive smokers has decreased. In 2011, the percentage of smokers in Poland was as high as 31%.

It is encouraging to see a decline in the number of people addicted to smoking. However, the negative impact of tobacco on health still remains a significant cause of death for many Poles. Surprisingly, more people die from tobacco-related diseases than from car accidents, with as many as 60,000 victims every year. Smoking is also the leading cause of premature deaths.

Regular smoking is most prevalent among men aged 40-49, with 34% of them being regular smokers. Among the age group of 50-59, women smoke more often than men (28% to 24%). In the age group of 15-19 years, 3% of women and 1% of men smoke cigarettes every day.

Cigarette smoking prevention

Giving up smoking altogether is the best way to protect your health. Switching to electronic cigarettes or smokeless products is not a good alternative. Smoking cigarettes can lead to the development of various diseases, such as lung cancer, venous thrombosis, heart attack, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Around 5% of the population is affected by COPD, which can even be fatal. For this reason, a free diagnostics program is available for smokers over the age of 18, which includes anti-smoking counselling, a medical interview, diagnostic tests such as weight, height, and blood pressure measurement, physical examinations, and spirometry testing to measure lung capacity and expiration rate.

After undergoing diagnostic tests, your attending physician will decide whether you need to join group therapy or undergo further tests. You can schedule an appointment at any of the participating healthcare facilities, and a list of these facilities is available at gsl.nfz.gov.pl. No referral is necessary to sign up for the program.

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