Quit Smoking Helps Prevent Influenza

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In view of the recent emergence of human swine influenza (Influenza A H1N1) worldwide, a spokesman of the Department of Health (DH) urged members of the public to quit smoking, one of the best preventive measures against influenza.

"Research studies show a higher risk of influenza infections among smokers when compared with nonsmokers.

"Also, mortality rate of influenza among smokers is higher than that of nonsmokers," the spokesman said, adding that smoking cessation among smokers is essential in preventing influenza.

Adopting healthy lifestyles and maintaining good personal hygiene are also effective measures to prevent influenza, he added.

Starting May 27, DH will launch a series of smoking cessation roving exhibition in various districts to strengthen public awareness of harmful effect of smoking, and enhance their knowledge of smoking cessation.

Visitors to the roving exhibition will be able to acquire a better understanding of perils of smoking and secondhand smoke, proper ways to quit smoking as well as tips and available channels to quit smoking.

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The most up-to-date information about drugs used for smoking cessation is also displayed at the exhibition.

IOCC comprises four components, namely "Online Quit Plan", "Information on Smoking Cessation", "Tips to Quit Smoking" and "Game Zone".

In the "Online Quit Plan", tailor-made email prompts will be sent to registered users at appropriate times. Quitters can also print out tailor-made calendar to boost up their confidence in quitting smoking.

"Information on Smoking Cessation" introduces correct methods of quitting smoking and elaborates various smoking cessation medications.

"Tips to Quit Smoking" provides smokers with 10 useful tips to quit smoking whereas interactive online games in "Game Zone" help youngsters cultivating smoke-free culture.

The spokesman noted that a total of 83 smokers have registered to use IOCC by the end of April 2009.

Apart from DH, the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals and the Hospital Authority also provide a number of smoking cessation services comprised of combined counseling and pharmacotherapy to assist smokers to quit smoking.

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