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Publicity Project

Elderly Smoking Cessation Promotion Project





Cigarette contains over 7,000 chemical substances in cigarette, including three main ‘killers’: carbon dioxide, tar and nicotine, over 70 carcinogens and others radioactive substances, such as polonium 201, methyl and butane etc. Smoking affects the health of both smokers and non-smokers. It causes harms to almost all organs of smokers. Research proved that one in two smoker will die early because of smoking. Substances released by secondhand smoke are found to be more harmful than those released in active smoking. People who are exposed to secondhand smoke will have higher rate to suffer lung cancer, coronary heart disease and other respiratory diseases.

Public’s awareness on smoking hazards has been increased in recent years, but some elderly smokers are misled by the misconceptions on smoking and quitting. They underestimate the health risk of smoking and wrongly believe that quitting smoking would increase the risk of fatal diseases. Thus they fail to take their step to quit smoking.
According to a cohort study on smoking and mortality of elderly Chinese in Hong Kong released by School of Public Health of The University of Hong Kong in 2014 , both current and former elderly smokers have a higher risk of total mortality. The excess risk of current smokers were 421% for lung cancer, 501% for COPD and 63% for cardiovascular disease mortality. Smoking kills one in every two elderly smokers aged 65 years or above and one out of four elderly smokers aged 85 years or above.



COSH has been dedicated to promote smoke-free lifestyle. Currently, there are 615,000 daily cigarette smokers in Hong Kong, in which 23.9% aged 60 years or above. Smokers aged 50 years or above accounts for over 45% of the overall smokers in Hong Kong. In order to meet the needs of elderly and invite them to create a smoke-free healthy life, the “Elderly Smoking Cessation Promotion Project” has been launched since 2012,with the aims to inform tobacco hazards, clarify the misconceptions of smoking cessation and encourage the elderly to kick the smoking habit.

In the Elderly Smoking Cessation Promotion Project 2017-18, COSH disseminated the smoke-free messages and smoking cessation advices through a series of activities, including health talks, visits to elderly centres, TV promotions sharing of successful quit stories, etc.


Health Talks

Health talk is organized in an interactive and interesting approach to promote the benefits of smoke-free lifestyle and remind the elderly the importance of quit smoking. Since 2012, COSH has delivered over 200 sessions of health talk at elderly centres across the territory and reached over 12,000 elderly.


Community Smoke-free Promotion Activity

This year, COSH collaborated with New Territories West Elder Academies Cluster (NTWEAC), an organization funded by the Elderly Commission, and Elderly Health Service of Department of Health to organize activities to encourage smoking cessation and promote a smoke-free healthy living style to the elderly.

 COSH recruited over 40 elderly volunteers from NTWEAC and trained them up as “Smoke-free Elderly Ambassadors” in June 2017. After the training, the Ambassadors have been promoting smoking cessation to smokers and disseminating the smoke-free messages through elderly centre visits, other community activities as well as in their daily lifeTo motivate and assist smokers to quit, they also distribute smoke-free information and- a pledge card to smokers to record their determination to quit smoking.

Two articles on informing of the harms of smoking and benefit of quitting was issued in the Newsletter of Elderly Health Service of Department of Health in July and November 2017 respectively. To enhance the intention and attempt to quit smoking, smoking hazards, quit tips and information of smoking cessation services were covered. The messages have been disseminated to over 18,000 elderly.

To share the smoke-free messages to a wider scope of elderly and general public, COSH invited Artist Ms LAW Lan to produce 3 promotion clips under the theme of “It’s never too late, act now and quit smoking”, to clear the misconceptions of smoking and advise smokers to quit for a healthy and happy life.

“It’s never too late, act now and quit smoking” – Quit earlier, benefit more (Chinese only)
“It’s never too late, act now and quit smoking” – Withdrawal symptoms (Chinese only)
“It’s never too late, act now and quit smoking” – Third-hand smoke (Chinese only)

A publicity event “It’s never too late, act now and quit smoking” was held on 26 October 2017 to launch the premiere of the promotion clips and further spread the smoke-free messages. The officiating guests included Dr CHUI Tak-yi, JP (Under Secretary for Food and Health), Dr Jeff LEE (Head of Tobacco Control Office, Department of Health), Dr LAM Ching-choi, BBS, JP (Chairman, Elderly Commission), Mr Antonio KWONG, MH (COSH Chairman) and Ms Yolanda NG, MH (COSH Vice-chairman). Two Smoke-free Elderly Ambassadors, Ms River LEUNG and Ms Teresa SUN, also shared their experience in promoting smoking cessation with the audience at the ceremony. Prof LAM Tai-hing, Chair Professor of Community Medicine & Sir Robert Kotewall Professor in Public Health, School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, took part in the mini drama to clear the misconceptions of quitting in an interesting way. Artists Ms LAW Lan and Ms Bella LAM also joined the ceremony to further inform the public of the smoking hazards and promoted the benefits of quitting through sharing and games.

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