Brazil takes a lead in the fight against tobacco

Professor of the School of Medicine represents Brazil in the Ibero-Latin American group of smoking addiction control

Por: PUCRS Magazine No.3 Annual Issue in English/2016

16/01/2017 - 14h20
Cigarettes, Ashtray

Photo: sunburgeor /

The free and lone cowboy, the cheerful group of friends, the extreme sports, the intellectual and trendy people. Those who were teenagers before 1996 will be able to remember the creative cigarette ads on television, even during programs aimed at young audience. Subliminal messages relating healthy aspects and desirable situations to a product which is today regarded as a villain causing many illnesses and diseases, considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the main cause of preventive deaths all over the world. The fight against smoking gained momentum in Brazil in 1989 with the beginning of the implementation of controlling policies. Back then, 45% of males and 26% of females in the country were smokers. Today, these figures dropped to 10.3% and 7.3% respectively. Around 2/3 of smokers live in 14 countries, Brazil being one of them, accounting for 17.6%. Out of this total, the highest and the lowest rate of smokers among Brazilian cities in 2014 were to be found in Porto Alegre, with 12.8%, and in Macapá, with 2.9%.

José Miguel Chatkin, Professor of the School of Medicine, represents Brazil in the Ibero-Latin American group of smoking addiction control, comprising the following entities: Latin American Association of Thorax, European Respiratory Society, Spanish Society of Pulmonology, Brazilian Society of Pulmonology and Tisiology and Portuguese Society of Pulmonology, with their respective representatives. In 2015, he joined seminars in the Netherlands, Spain and Peru, as he presented the advances in Brazil, which has the lowest rate of smokers in the participating countries, dropping 30.7% in ten years.

PUCRS, through the School of Medicine and São Lucas Hospital, played a central role, since most schools and countries represented do not address the theoretical and practical insights into this area in their curriculum. The goal Tobacco-Free PUCRS is still progressively successful. Currently, smoking is prohibited in closed areas across the Campus, in accordance to the national legislation.


Joint efforts against cigarettes

Current medical literature has shown that in order for a treatment to be effective, it must consist of both medication and counselling work. “These techniques do not work well when applied alone. We conducted a study with 1.100 people and the results were similar”, remarks José Miguel Chatkin. As well as that, multiple drugs should be administered. If regarded as a chronic disease, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, smoking addiction treatment might possibly be administered for a longer period of time. “What is being done today lasts for about six months and may not be enough, since there is a very high rate of relapses”.

The role played by nutrition is another area of interest for the PUCRS group. The investigation on the ingestion of Omega 3, carried out by Nóris Coimbra, a PhD student of the Graduate Program in Medicine and Health Sciences, has shown that people who take in at least three servings of fish every week, especially salmon, tend to smoke less.


To find out more about it, please visit PUCRS Magazine 2016 annual issue