The number of smokers in Cyprus has increased due to financial crisis related stress, while at the same time many are turning to medically assisted methods to stop smoking due to financial difficulties.
According to data presented by the Ministry of Health, in Cyprus 38.1% of men and 10.5% of women smoke.
At a press conference on Tuesday to present an anti-smoking campaign on the occasion of the International No Smoking Day on May 31, the Ministry of Health noted that Cyprus holds first place in the EU for smoking and also for smoking-related cardiac arrests.
According to the data, although many heart patients quit the habit, they start smoking again after a few years. The smokers who suffer a heart attack and continue to smoke have three times more chance of a fatal attack in the next ten years, compared to those who stop smoking. In Cyprus, 23.5% of patients continue to smoke after a heart-related incident, while in Europe only 17.2% do so.
It is estimated that smoking kills 650,000 people per year in Europe, of which 80,000 die due to passive smoking, while the number worldwide is believed to be around 4.9 million per year. Furthermore, one in six adults is expected to die of smoking every year by 2030.
The Law Office of the Republic of Cyprus is currently examining a bill that provides for stricter penalties for smoking in public places.
Minister of Health Philippos Patsalis noted that clinics helping people stop smoking have responded to 348 requests since June 2013, a significantly higher number than previous years.
In Cyprus, in 2012 there were 2,112 deaths from heart disease, 394 from respiratory system ailments, and 932 from neoplasms, all tobacco-related.
The Ministry of Health, following World Health Organisation recommendations, has developed an action framework, aiming at preventing and reducing smoking.
Patsalis noted that the action plan encouraged smokers to stop smoking, and promoted a smoke-free environment, providing a better quality of life for all.
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