Nearly half a million Bulgarians are sick with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, but only 20% of them know and are treated - the rest walk the streets and smoke. Smoking is one of the leading causes of death in the world. Since 70% of smokers want to quit smoking, but only 2.5% succeed, support in the form of pharmacotherapy is needed", shared the implacable opponent of cigarettes Assoc. Dr. Kosta Kostov at a special event to present a study on the attitude towards quitting smoking in our country.
Assoc. Dr. Kosta Kostov was born in 1955 in Burgas, where he graduated from the German high school. The artistic environment in his native city forever connected him to art, and his knowledge of philosophy, literature, cinema, theater is far beyond a simple hobby. Prof. Kostov is one of our leading pulmonologists, head of the Clinic for Pulmonary Diseases of the Academy of Medical Sciences-Sofia, professor of medicine at SU "St. Cl. Ohridski" - leads the course on pulmonary diseases at the Faculty of Medicine.
Here's what else the specialist shared about smoking, diseases, but also about the possibilities of giving up cigarettes.
Prof. Kostov, you are adamant that tobacco is the biggest cause of death…
- Smoking is the largest preventable cause of death in the world. It is the cause of premature death of almost 700,000 people every year in the European Union. And worldwide it leads to about 5 million deaths annually.
About 50% of smokers die prematurely - on average 14 years earlier. They also spend more years of their lives in poor he alth. Many types of cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases are linked to smoking, which causes more problems than alcohol, drugs, high blood pressure, obesity or high cholesterol.
Despite significant progress, in recent years the number of smokers in Europe remains high - 28% of the entire population and 29% of Europeans aged 15-24. In Bulgaria, over 40% of the population are smokers, and nearly 60% of them are men.
And these are people heavily addicted to tobacco?
- Smoking should be considered as a dynamic process, which is characterized by a certain stereotype of development and characteristic clinical signs of a drug syndrome. Four stages are distinguished in the course of this process. In the initial stage, smoking is for pleasure and there is no physical dependence. The second and third stages of intoxication are characterized by pronounced dependence and withdrawal symptoms. In the output stage
smoker hates cigarettes,
but the body suffers for them.
It is in the second, third and fourth stages that replacement treatment should be applied. There is such a thing in Bulgaria, they use it all over the world. But many fellow pulmonologists don't know him.
In your clinic, you treat the most serious lung diseases. Are they just a consequence of smoking?
- The “naked” truth looks like this: The vast majority, more than 80% of lung cancer patients are smokers, more than 80% of patients diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are smokers, one percent of COPD patients get sick every year from lung cancer, 20% of COPD sufferers will develop lung cancer at some point in their lives, according to statistically reliable data and scientific studies. These two diseases together lead to he althcare costs of nearly half a billion! And if we add all the others related to smoking - cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, mental, etc.?! Few people know that smoking not only damages the heart and lungs, but the whole organism.
These are at least 10-15 socially significant diseases that result in costs far exceeding the revenues in the tobacco industry's treasury. Can anyone swear that the restaurateurs pay the correct taxes to the treasury?! No, but the money that goes to he alth care is the right one - it is not hidden.
In the next 10-15 years, Bulgaria will be among the first to suffer from lung cancer, because we are in one of the leading places in terms of smoking. In 2020, lung cancer and COPD will be one of the leading causes of death. Do you know what a collapse of the he althcare budget there will be in Bulgaria if the smoking trend continues? But after 15 years there is no one to be held accountable.
Every year 4000 people in our country get cancer
Count by 2020 how many people will get sick…
Is it true that smoking is harder to quit than drugs?
- Addiction to tobacco is in third place after addiction to heroin and cocaine. I.e. addiction to cocaine and smoking is almost equal. If 100 smokers decide to quit on their own and put all their energy and passion into it, only 5 will quit. No more than 7% in the best studies. 97 of these smokers are doomed for life!
Is this a statistic or your observations?
- These are serious studies by serious teams that have been dealing with the problem for years. However, if in this attempt of the smoker to give up medical skills, medications, programs are put in, complex if it is worked on, the chance is 30-35%. I.e. and here nearly 60-65% of smokers are doomed, which is terrifying! Because 20 percent of them will get COPD and 20% of those patients will get lung cancer and die.
No forgiveness! There is no strong, there is no weak lung. In a sense, there are some genetic predispositions, but they have not yet been definitively established. We do not know exactly which smokers are susceptible and will develop the disease, and for this reason we believe that 100% of them have this danger.
Can we get rid of cigarettes?
- Of course it can, and with a Bulgarian product. Faster and
times cheaper than nicotine replacement therapies -
this is according to the data of the latest independent study of New Zealand scientists from December 18, 2014.1310 smokers from New Zealand took part in it, half of them received the Bulgarian medicinal product for 25 days, and the other half within eight weeks received the nicotine replacement therapy - nicotine gums, nicotine patches and nicotine dragees for sucking.
What changes occur in our body when quitting tobacco?
- When quitting cigarettes, changes occur in the body due to the lack of nicotine, which stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and the vascular center. During this period, blood pressure and blood sugar drop, as a result of which there is a feeling of fatigue, irritability, or the so-called. withdrawal syndrome. According to various studies, at this very moment, instead of a cigarette for relaxation, it is appropriate to take a tablet that replaces the missing nicotine. As a result, blood pressure and blood sugar normalize and a feeling of comfort sets in.
The Bulgarian tablet in which in 1962the chemist Prof. Dr. Ivan Isaev managed to isolate cytisine from the colors of "Golden Rain", it works so well when quitting cigarettes, because when taking it, smokers stop experiencing pleasure from the harmful habit, they overcome it much more easily and comfortably" the dreaded symptoms” of nicotine addiction.