In the northern part of the Netherlands, relatively a lot of people smoke. The need to receive more help to quit smoking, to prevent them from getting ill and regtretting this addiction if they became ill. But also to prevent them from making others ill, such as partners, children, ex smokers and even pets. But how difficult it can be to quit, is shown by the story of Jan Bouwhuis, director of Building and Facilities of the UMCG on the Healthy Ageing Campus.
Jan Bouwhuis, director Building and Facilities of the UMCG, managed to quit smoking thanks to addiction docter Robert van der Graaf of the Addiction Care Northern Netherlands (Verslavingszorg Noord Nederland), who has been working for years together with many organisations to get the Netherlands smoke-free. Since then, they work together, to get the UMCG smoke-free, amongst others. Bouwhuis: "I am co-responsible voor the smoking policy and the implementation. We want to motivate as many smokers _ both patients and colleagues- to quit smoking. The 'smoking villa' on the UMCG premises seemed a good idea to get the smokers away from the entrance, but the presence of the 'villa' turned out to stimultae people to smoke."
Van de Graaf: ,,It is bizar when people who just left the lung department, are seduced to go to the smoke cabin."Bouwhuis: "One may expect a hospital to be a healthy enviroment, so this needs to be improved."
The UMCG did a pilot with security guards, who addressed patients, employees and visitors in regards to their smoking habits. "This did not work, part of the people reacted in a negative way", according to Bouwhuis. Vander Graaf: "There are a lot of ways to start a conversation. Eighty percent of smokers wants to quit. We have to have more understanding, approach people judgement-free and offer more help."Jan Bouwhuis knows: smoking can be an outlet and the temptations remain large for a longer period. "Talking about it, keeping a diary and the app Quit Now helped me. I was a motivator on the app, because I know what is is like when quitters get itches, literally. Ex smokers are the best helpers, they recognise the feeling."
Source: gezondheidenco.nl Tine van Knijff, for Aha magazine (collaboration of HANNN and NDC mediagroep)
Help for smokers not well organised
Van de Graaf: ,,The help for smokers is not well organised and is barely paid for by municipalities and health insurers. I try for instance to make sure through the National Prevention Agreement that this does happen. Smokers should get the help they need, paid for. Besides that, health professionals have the worong approach of smokers in many cases. A GO saying 'just quit smoking' is often not very helpfull." The majority of smokers have an addiction they want to get rid of; they need help and they except this most of the times only from someone who listens adn talks to them without value judgement."
Bouwhuis adds: "We work in this hospital on people who are ill because of smoking. We need to focus more on prevention, to make sure people do not get ill." Van der Graaf: 'We need to work on behaviour!" Bouwhuis: "But without judgement: by providing real help." The addiction docter agrees: "To succeed in doing so, care givers need to be trained; they have to practice conversations. We need to release cash and energy for this. We are working on it, but it takes one step at the time. It needs a longterm approach."