Following the success of last year’s program to help people quit smoking and chewing betel nuts, the Pingtung County Public Health Bureau on Thursday launched a similar program.
The bureau last year held 33 classes to help people quit smoking or chewing betel nuts, bureau Director Lee Chao-jen (李昭仁) said.
Out of 389 participants who attended the program, 149 quit smoking, Lee said.
He added that 83 out of 282 participants stopped chewing betel nuts, reducing the number of betel nuts chewed in the county last year to 48,114, from 196,545 the previous year.
According to a 2016 nationwide survey on tobacco consumption, the rate of tobacco use in the county was 10.6 percent — 19.68 percent in men and 3.27 percent in women — the lowest level since 2004, Lee said.
However, the number of female smokers is on the rise and their average age is falling, Lee said, urging people to quit smoking for the well-being of themselves and their families.
The bureau is working with 158 medical institutions in the county to provide consultation services to people who want to quit smoking, it said.
From this month until August, the county’s 33 health centers would hold classes to help people quit smoking or chewing betel nuts, the bureau said.
Next month, the John Tung Foundation is hosting its biannual “Quit and Win” event, where participants who quit smoking have a chance to win a prize, it added.
The bureau said it hopes to help more people quit smoking or chewing betel nuts.
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