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Firms not keeping tabs on smokers

HK Standard

Only one in 10 companies assisted their employees to quit smoking in the past year, according to a study.

Kelly Ip

Monday, March 25, 2013

Only one in 10 companies assisted their employees to quit smoking in the past year, according to a study.

Lok Sin Tong Benevolent Society Kowloon and the University of Hong Kong surveyed 300 companies last month.

Most companies have no policy about smoking or are not aware of any, the survey found. Over 46 percent of respondents believe smokers have the right and freedom to smoke.

One in five companies say there are inadequate resources to implement a no-smoking policy and that it is not their responsibility.

More than 90 percent of respondents agree that staff smoking habits adversely affect the environment and company image.

Half supported different ways to encourage people to quit, including posting “No Smoking” notices in the premises.

University of Hong Kong school of public health head Lam Tai-hing said many of those who smoke do not have a complete knowledge of the adverse effects. “Secondhand smoking also negatively affects other employees’ health.”

Lam believes the most effective way of assisting smokers to beat the habit is to increase tobacco duty.

Ma Lik, a gardening manager, smoked three packs of cigarettes a day for 40 years.

“My health got worse about 10 years ago,” he said.

“I have tried to use nicotine patches to quit smoking but I smoked again due to my friends’ influence.”

Through a service by Lok Sin Tong, he was able to kick the habit.

Lok Sin Tong chairman Kwong Cho-shing said many companies lack resources to help employees overcome their nicotine addiction.

The organization is promoting a two-year pilot scheme for 50 companies so that they can set up quit-smoking policies, health seminars and cognitive behavior treatment services for their employees.

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