The Health Services Authority (HSA) is reminding the public that all its facilities including the Cayman Islands Hospital and District Health Centres are designated smoke free zones by the Cayman Islands Tobacco Law 2008 and the Tobacco (Amendment) Regulations 2016.
HSA CEO, Lizzette Yearwood says the healthcare provider is increasing mission focus to improve the health and well-being of the Cayman Islands population through prevention strategies and a major part of its strategic plan is to continuously decrease the incidence and adverse effects of chronic non-communicable diseases including some forms of cancer, which are directly linked to tobacco use.
“We’re a healthcare provider that cares very much for the welfare and wellbeing of our patients, staff and all residents in our community and, quite simply, we want to encourage people not to smoke and help them lead healthier lives,” said Ms. Yearwood.
As part of this initiative, the HSA also offers free counselling for individuals who want to stop smoking. “We are increasing awareness about the benefits of quitting smoking and as always we encourage individuals to give up smoking through programmes such as those offered through our the Public Health Department that advises them on how to quit,” she said.
Director of Primary Healthcare, Dr. Samuel Williams Rodriguez says the smoking cessation classes have been very successful in providing support to individuals and families, through counselling, education, pharmacology, social and behavioral intervention, and motivational intervention for those persons who have not readily decided to quit. More than 120 persons have already benefited from the programme.
Sessions are held twice annually in February and May with classes on Wednesday from 5:15 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. in the Public Health Department at the Cayman Islands Hospital. This offer is free and open to all members of the public including families and individuals who are non-smokers but who wish to learn how they can help and support friends and loved-ones in living tobacco-free. The programme is most beneficial when smokers are in attendance.
Mr Basil Hennings of George Town who had been a smoker for 50 years is now a strong advocate for those with nicotine addiction to participate in the sessions provided by the Public Health Department as he has greatly benefited.
“The programme offers a supportive environment and has helped me to lead a much healthier lifestyle. I have been smoke free now for one year, two months and one week and I am forever grateful to the dedicated group of professionals who oversee the facilitation of this process to smokers,” said Mr. Hennings.
Also adding her support for the programme, Health Promotion Officer, Therese Prehay noted, “It is essential that individuals are given as much encouragement as possible to stop smoking and the smoking cessation classes provides a supporting environment for those who struggle with nicotine addiction with behavioral and cessation specialists and administrative personnel dedicated to the health and well-being of all.”
“We realise it may be a decision that is uncomfortable for some people and we ensure that our sessions are geared towards providing valuable tools, information and reinforcing the worth of every individual whilst promoting a holistic approach to good health.”
Persons who are interested in quitting smoking can register for the next session of the “I Can Quit” programme which begins on May 30, 2018. The registration deadline is May 28.
For more information on the programme and how you can benefit call Sarah Frederick on 244-2889.