“Quit to Win” Smoke-free Community Campaign promotes smoking cessation and a smoke-free Hong Kong
2014.03.31Following the success of the “Quit to Win” Smoke-free Community Campaign in 2009, 2010 and 2012 which recruited over 3,000 smokers to quit smoking, Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health (COSH) organized The 4th “Quit to Win” Smoke-free Community Campaign, with the continuous support of the 18 District Councils and district organizations. COSH organized over 50 recruitment sessions and promotions across the territory from June to September 2013 and attracted over 1,200 smokers to sign up. Participants received free smoking cessation counseling and follow up for a smoke-free life. Successful quitters are eligible to join the lucky draw or TV show to win fabulous prizes.
COSH produced a television programme with Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) to promote the benefits of quitting smoking and smash the excuses of smoking through a drama called “10 Quitting Warriors”. The winners of “Quit to Win” smoking cessation contest were invited to share their successful quit stories. The Champion Mr CHAN Kwok-cheung, a smoker for over two decades, said that he quitted smoking because his friend who gave him the first cigarette was suffering from a disease caused by smoking. Also, he always had to return to double check the outdoor spots at the warehouse where he had discarded the cigarette butts as he was worried that a burning butt might set the place ablaze. This became so bothersome. With the encouragement of his wife and the smoking cessation councellor, Mr Chan finally kicked the habit and became more peaceful.
The first runner-up Mr CHAN Chi-man spent 37 years as a smoker. Mr Chan’s decision to kick the smoking habit attributed to the increasing promotion on smoking hazards and expansion of statutory no smoking areas which made smoking inconvenient and less welcome by the public. The second runner-up Mr LUI Kam-nin lighted up his first cigarette due to peer influence. For the sake of his wife and daughter, he determined to quit smoking. Mr Lui resisted the temptation with the thought of his daughter’s expectation. He feels much better physically after kicking the bad habit, especially with his respiratory system.
The television programme was officiated by Dr KO Wing-man, BBS, JP (Secretary for Food and Health), Prof Sophia CHAN, JP (Under Secretary for Food and Health), Dr Constance CHAN, JP (Director of Health), Prof LAM Tai-hing, BBS, JP (Chair Professor of Community Medicine & Sir Robert Kotewall Professor in Public Health, School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong), Ms Lisa LAU, BBS, MH, JP (COSH Chairman) and Mr Antonio KWONG (COSH Vice-chairman). The guests called on the public to strive for a smoke-free Hong Kong and encourage smokers to quit smoking to protect their family members from the adverse effects of smoking, secondhand smoke and third-hand smoke.
Dr KO Wing-man thanked to the concerted efforts of different sectors of the community on tobacco control. Smoking prevalence in Hong Kong has gradually dropped from 23 percent in the 1980s to a record low of 10.7 percent currently.
Dr Constance CHAN introduced the work of Department of Health on tobacco control. In addition to law enforcement, the Department of Health has collaborated with different NGOs to roll out a variety of free smoking cessation services to help smokers kick the habit, including the quitline 1833 183.
Prof LAM Tai-hing remarked that there are nearly 7,000 thousands people died of smoking and secondhand smoke annually in Hong Kong. Researches already showed that one out of two smokers will die earlier from tobacco-related diseases. He urged the family members and friends of smokers to encourage their beloved to quit smoking as soon as possible.
Ms Lisa LAU highlighted the ‘multiple wins’ achieved through smoking cessation. “You can improve your health, safeguard your family and friends from the harms of secondhand and third-hand smoke, as well as make savings. Smokers can demonstrate your resolve by writing down the reasons for quitting and setting a deadline. With love, care and will power, you will be the winners.”
Prof Sophia CHAN, Prof LAM Tai-hing, Ms Lisa LAU and Mr Antonio KWONG also introduced the smoking hazards to the audience and bolster up smokers’ determination to cease smoking.
“Quit to Win” Smoke-free Community Campaign will be held again in 2014. Officiating guests, representatives from 18 District Councils, district organizations, COSH Council members, winners of the 4th “Quit to Win” smoking cessation contest, Smoke-free Ambassador Mr Kenneth MA and artists jointly made an appeal to the public to support the 5th “Quit to Win” Smoke-free Community Campaign. Recruitment will start in coming June. Stay tuned to www.quittowin.hk .
The programme was officiated by (from left) Prof LAM Tai-hing, BBS, JP (Chair Professor of Community Medicine & Sir Robert Kotewall Professor in Public Health, School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong), Dr Constance CHAN, JP (Director of Health), Ms Lisa LAU, BBS, MH, JP (COSH Chairman), Dr KO Wing-man, BBS, JP (Secretary for Food and Health), Prof Sophia CHAN, JP (Under Secretary for Food and Health) and Mr Antonio KWONG (COSH Vice-chairman) to bolster up smokers’ determination to kick the bad habit.
Dr KO Wing-man, BBS, JP (Secretary for Food and Health) and Ms Lisa LAU, BBS, MH, JP (COSH Chairman), presented the award to Mr CHAN Kwok-cheung, the champion of “Quit to Win” smoking cessation contest.
(6th from right on front row) Prof Sophia CHAN, JP (Under Secretary for Food and Health) and (7th from right on front row) Ms Lisa LAU, BBS, MH, JP (COSH Chairman) thanked the support of the 18 District Councils and district organizations to “Quit to Win” Smoke-free Community Campaign.