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SOME 70 percent of smokers who succeed in giving up through group therapy sessions start smoking again within three years, a figure which highlights the relative success of external support to help people to give up smoking. The coordinator of Ib Salud's Primary Health Care for Smokers (AP) programme, Helena Girauta, said that the relapses were “progressive” as 40 percent start smoking again during the first year. However, after three years the proportion is more than 70 percent.
According to Girauta, after taking part in the second Tobacco Addiction Day in the Son Llatzer hospital, around 29 percent of the Balearic population smokes, with an upward trend in the case of women and downward in the case of men. Among young people of between 14 and 18 years of age, the percentage falls to 23 percent, six points below the national average. At the moment, 30 AP centres in Majorca, one in Minorca and another in Formentera organise support groups for giving up smoking, each group initially consisting of 20 persons, which in two weeks falls to 15 as 20 percent of people abandon the therapy at the second session. Girauta stressed how important it was for people signing up to the therapy to be “completely convinced” that they want to give up smoking. If they are not then “the therapy will be a failure”. Because of this, she insisted, the professionals who give the therapies know how to recognise people who want to give up and “reject those who seem reluctant to give up the habit”.