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Smoking rate hits 30-year low

Hong Kong (HKSAR) – The daily cigarette smoking prevalence among the Hong Kong population dropped to 11.1 per cent in 2010, the lowest rate in the past 30 years.

The Head of the Tobacco Control Office of the Department of Health (DH), Dr Raymond Ho, said at a press conference today (August 24) that the 2010 daily cigarette smoking rate in Hong Kong represented a drop of more than half from the high point of 23.3 per cent in 1982.

He was quoting figures from the Thematic Household Survey 2010 conducted by the Census and Statistics Department.

Over the years, the Government and the community have made a committed effort in the areas of taxation, legislation and law enforcement, health promotion and provision of smoking cessation services, resulting in the gradual reduction in smoking prevalence.

The survey, conducted from October to December 2010, also showed that nearly half of the daily cigarette smokers (44.3 per cent) had tried or wanted to give up smoking.

“We will further enhance smoking cessation services and health promotion activities through collaboration with the Hospital Authority and community partners including the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health, the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine, the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, Pok Oi Hospital, United Christian Nethersole Community Health Service, the University of Hong Kong, the Po Leung Kuk and the Life Education Activity Programme,” Dr Ho said.

The DH also launched a free smartphone application for smoking cessation earlier this month. This new quit-smoking tool is characterised by a number of interactive features such as information sharing with friends through email and Facebook, proactive tailor-made quitting tips and encouraging messages from 44 local celebrities. Smokers are encouraged to call the DH’s integrated smoking cessation hotline 1833 183 and download the new application to help kick the smoking habit.

“The DH will continue to work with various non-governmental organisations on school-based smoking prevention programmes for young people with a view to achieving a smoke-free Hong Kong,” Dr Ho added.

As of August 23, the DH’s integrated smoking cessation hotline had received 14,787 calls this year, which exceeded the number of calls received in all of 2010 (13,880).

Source: HKSAR Government

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