3 Jan 2010
The Department of Health's (DH) smoking cessation hotline will be enhanced from tomorrow (January 4) as part of the Government's continued efforts to protect public health by stepping up smoking cessation services.
The enhancement will enable people to access the smoking cessation services of the Hospital Authority, in addition to those of DH and the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals (TWGHs) through an integrated Department of Health Smoking Cessation Hotline, 1833183.
The enhanced trilingual (Cantonese, Putonghua and English) integrated hotline will be manned by trained registered nurses and counsellors during office hours, aided by a computerised Interactive Voice Response System for the rest of the day.
Callers can receive information and advice on smoking cessation methods and medications, counselling as well as take a nicotine dependence test.
A Department of Health spokesman said the hotline enhancement would cater for the increasing demand for smoking cessation in the population. It also reflected effectiveness of tobacco control measures in 2009, which included increased in tobacco tax, extension of no smoking ban to former Qualified Establishments and Public Transport Facilities, and implementation of the fixed penalty system.
The number of calls to the DH Smoking Cessation Hotline increased from 4,300 in 2008 to more than 15,000 last year.
Since the setting up of the virtual Interactive Online Cessation Centre (IOCC) at the DH Tobacco Control Office website last February, more than 24,000 hit counts had been recorded and about 300 people have registered with the IOCC.
DH will also organise a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist training programme in collaboration with Mayo Clinic from USA and TWGHs for healthcare professionals in February. The programme is aimed at equipping healthcare professionals to provide smoking cessation service in Hong Kong and the Western Pacific Region.