Breathe-Free Program Helps People Quit Smoking
Beirut, Lebanon | Middle East and North African Union (MENAU)
Eight new non-smokers had reason to celebrate after receiving their ‘Bachelors of Non-Smoking’ certificates in Beirut, Lebanon this past October. The Breath-Free 2 smoking cessation program ran for three weeks near Middle East University (MEU) with 15 regular attendees between the ages of 20-60+ yrs. “I love how people are running after my health!” said one participant. Because the program was offered free, many couldn’t believe the support was real. “Honestly, I came here putting in mind that I needed to quit smoking, but I didn’t really believe I could do it,” said another. “They care about my health more than I do, so this encouraged me to start looking after my health.” In Lebanon, almost half of the men and more than one-third of the women aged 15 years and up are smokers, reflecting the increasing trend of smoking in developing countries in the east. However, the community support for those wanting to quit smoking is usually minimal and costly. Because of this, the Breathe Free 2 program has become a significant tool to reach out to the communities in Lebanon. Organized by the Middle East and North Africa Union (MENAU) Health Ministries, the program used the talents of Adventist youth currently living in Beirut. “Establishing kingdom friendships are what our community programs are about,” says Rick McEdward, MENAU president, summing up the effort.