Date
25 May 2017
Girls tend to start smoking at an earlier age than boys, according to Youth Quitline. Photo: HKEJ
Girls tend to start smoking at an earlier age than boys, according to Youth Quitline. Photo: HKEJ

HKU strengthens anti-smoking hotline amid high relapse rate

A university program to help young people quit smoking is getting a reboot after an increase in relapse.

Youth Quitline, a smokers’ advice hotline run by the University of Hong Kong, said it has found a spike in the the number of quitters who have gone back to smoking, Ming Pao Daily reported Wednesday.

The 10-year-old program will be strengthened to help quitters stay put and encourage more young people to kick the habit.

Counselors will undergo more extensive training as part of efforts to strengthen the program, founded by HKU in 2005 in partnership with the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health. 

Less than a quarter of 1,420 young smokers who received counseling successfully quit within six months, the report said, citing William Li, an associate professor in the HKU School of Nursing who directs the program.

However, almost half of 293 people who quit smoking relapsed within six months, he said.

Li said addiction, coupled with peer pressure and other external factors, was mainly responsible for the high relapse rate.

Youth Quitline has been providing counseling services to smokers aged 25 and under.

It said nearly 80 percent of them are boys, about half between 14 and 17, and about 70 percent are full-time students.

Girls start smoking slightly earlier than boys at an average age of 13.3, it said.

– Contact us at [email protected]

TL/AC/RA

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe