The last cigarette

For SHA Wellness Clinic
Thursday August 19th, 2021
Ninety-five percent of the guests who attend the SHA Smoking Cessation Programme succeed in quitting smoking or vaping.


According to the World Health Organisation, eight million people die each year worldwide as a result of smoking. In addition, smoking causes a huge number of chronic heart, vascular and lung diseases which, although not fatal, greatly worsen the quality of life, and is responsible for 30% of all cancer-related deaths. These facts alone should be a good reason to quit.


Starting to smoke or vape is easy, and while quitting this health-damaging habit is hard, it’s not impossible. In fact, as Dr. Vicente Mera, head of Internal Medicine and Anti-Aging at SHA Wellness Clinic, tells us, “only one in 20 guests who complete the Anti-Smoking Programme relapse, that is, only 5%. The success of the programme, which lasts a week, lies in an comprehensive approach that combines different disciplines, from the latest medical treatments, such as pulmonary detox nebulisation and intravenous ozone therapy, a personalised healthy eating plan, psychology sessions to delve into the origin of the problem and understand why patients seek an outlet in tobacco, to stress management and Eastern techniques aimed at full awareness, such as pranayama breathing, meditation, yoga, acupuncture and foot reflexology. The latter are essential throughout the process, but mainly in the first few days, since they promote relaxation, which helps manage the anxiety caused by withdrawal symptoms”.


Of the thousands of toxic substances contained in cigarettes, the doctor highlights two that are particularly harmful: nicotine and tar. “Nicotine is highly addictive, it triggers the desire to smoke and has very dangerous cardiovascular effects, because it accelerates the heart rate and accumulates in the arteries of the heart and brain, hardening them and causing increased blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. Tar, on the other hand, is responsible for all pulmonary phenomena. It is like a kind of tar that sticks to the lungs, causing bronchitis and emphysema, diseases that are not easily treated and which greatly worsen quality of life. Moreover, all these risks increase exponentially when combined with other factors, such as high cholesterol, blood pressure and stress. Tobacco does silent damage, that is, you can smoke for many years and feel relatively well, but there comes a time when there’s a straw that breaks the camel’s back”.


The good news is that quitting smoking or vaping is possible and, with the right help, the process can be much more bearable. As Vicente explains, “quitting smoking is a book with three chapters. The first is the longest and has to be written by the smoker. It goes from the moment they start to think about quitting to the moment they make the final decision and say, ‘I’m going to quit smoking’. It can take months, years or even decades to write. The second chapter is very short and is “quit smoking”. It’s the easiest of all and only takes a week to write in SHA, provided that you have written the first chapter beforehand and you are totally and mentally ready to quit. The third chapter is the most important and consists of “not smoking again”, which is achieved with the methods and techniques guests learn during their stay”.


A few days after putting out the last cigarette, you start to notice the benefits. As Vicente says, “there are few greater satisfactions than quitting smoking because, as soon as your life is no longer linked to tobacco, you are once again in charge of your own destiny. From that moment on, it is you who decides where you want to go and that means not letting tobacco take you where it wants to take you, which is usually to illness, to the hospital or to living glued to an oxygen cylinder. In addition, you start to feel better and both your health and your quality of life will thank you: you get your taste and smell back, you stop running out of air when you run, climb stairs or do any physical effort, sexual relations improve and, of course, you reduce the risks of suffering a heart attack or developing lung cancer”.


For more information on the SHA Tobacco Control Programme, visit:



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