Date
21 August 2019
The use of social media tools has proved effective in helping participants quit smoking. Photo: SCPW
The use of social media tools has proved effective in helping participants quit smoking. Photo: SCPW

How WhatsApp helps people quit smoking

Social media has been found to be an effective tool in helping people to quit smoking.

The Lok Sin Tong Benevolent Society, Kowloon (LST) said the third phase (2017-2018) of its Smoking Cessation Program in the Workplace has come to a satisfactory close, with 92 companies and 801 smokers participating.

Results showed the overall quit rate among the participants was 20 percent while the smoking rate was reduced by 49.5 percent.

The LST attributes much of the success of the program to the use of information and communications technology, particularly in counseling participants.

The program makes use of WhatsApp and SMS to disseminate tips on how to quit smoking and send messages to encourage participants to give up the habit.

Social media also allows for more personal interaction between service users and counselors, thereby enabling the latter to provide more effective psychosocial support to participants in their quitting journey.

Results showed that participants who had real-time interaction through WhatsApp with the counselors had more than 1.4-fold higher quit rate than those who did not engage in real-time interaction.

Previous research indicated that a lack of family and peer support was one of the main reasons why people failed to quit smoking.

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WL/RT/CG

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