Two thousand hospitals and clinics are expected to join in a nationwide campaign to help people quit smoking that will be launched on March 1, the Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday.
About 180,000 people are expected to take advantage of the program, which will translate into 45,000 smokers quitting the habit, given an expected success rate of 25 percent, Bureau of Health Promotion Director-General Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑媞) said.
Success is counted if someone remains smoke-free six months after the end of the program.
The program is a sound investment by the government because smokers’ health will improve and it will also help prevent their family members from suffering the effects of secondhand smoke, she said.
If one smoker is reckoned to create social costs of NT$420,000 (US$14,240) because of the addiction, the program will generate long-term savings of NT$19 billion in terms of medical and care costs, Chiou said.
According to the bureau, the longest treatment period will last eight weeks and each smoker will be allowed a second try at the program in the event of relapse. The participants will need to cover some of the costs of the program, to a maximum of NT$200, she said, but added that smokers from low-income families could participate free of charge.
According to the DOH, more than 18,000 people are killed nationwide by tobacco use each year and 33.5 percent of men in Taiwan smoke, a figure about 1.6 times higher than in the US.