Sun, Dec 15, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Taiwanese ‘tobacco-free’ hospitals are world class

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

More than 2,400 healthcare facilities and community pharmacies helping to drive the nation’s anti-smoking movement have successfully weaned more than 30,000 smokers off cigarettes, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) said.

Of the 2,404 medical institutions, 2,207 healthcare facilities and 197 community pharmacies offer smoking cessation and education program.

This is an 11.7 percent increase compared with the same period last year, and guarantees a 98.6 percent coverage rate over the nation’s 363 townships, the agency said.

Also making substantial achievements is the second-generation smoke cessation program, under which the agency launched a specialist pharmacy and accreditation for educators.

Under the program, anti-smoking drugs are partly covered by the National Health Insurance program with users required to pay only 20 percent of the price or a maximum of NT$200.

Further help is offered to low-income households.

More than 109,000 people have used the treatment services since the program began in March last year, with more than 30,000 smokers successfully quitting the habit, HPA director-general Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑媞) said.

She added that estimated savings in the short term were NT$160 million and in the long term NT$12.6 billion.

Chiou said that Taiwan has four “tobacco-free” hospitals that follow the standards instituted by the internationally renowned ENSH-Global Network for Tobacco Free Healthcare Services.

The seven global members of the ENSH GOLD Forum 2013 are recognized for reaching the highest level of standard fulfillment and “for the efforts and strong commitment of healthcare services in the field of tobacco control.”

The standards include a commitment to reject tobacco industry sponsorship, education and training for staff on how to approach and help smokers, tobacco cessation and control programs and measures, smoke-free and smoking-incentive-free environments, a healthy workplace and health promotion in the community.

The agency said the numbers of people going to Taiwan’s tobacco-free hospitals had grown 121.2 percent from the year before.

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