The battle against tobacco is being won, but it is a hard fight and the results are slow. Advice, information and campaigns about the damage to health which is caused by this addiction are fundamental tools.
In Malaga province, one quarter of the population smokes. Figures which have just been released by the Department of Health show that 26.6 per cent of people in Malaga over the age of 16 smoke, and 22.3 of them are women. Most of them say they began to smoke between the ages of 16 and 17.
To coincide with World No Tobacco Day, the governmental and health delegates in Malaga, José Luis Ruiz Espejo and Ana Isabel González respectively, paid a visit to the information stand in Calle Larios, where expert advice was being given about active and passive smoking and the resources available to help people give up. People could also have a co-oximetry test (to detect the loss of oxygen in the blood and determine the level of carbon monoxide in the air which is breathed by an individual).
Tobacco addiction does not only affect the person who smokes: it also affects other people who are with them in places which become contaminated by cigarette smoke. Malaga province is in line with the general trend in Andalucía in this respect: 35.4 per cent of people in this region are passive smokers.
The regional government has drawn up an Integral Tobacco Addiction Plan, which includes programmes to help smokers give up the habit and to prevent others from starting to smoke, especially targeting groups such as pregnant women, prisoners and those with mental illness.
For each one of these cases, specific programmes are designed, including targets for the smokers to try to meet.