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Publicity Project

Elderly Smoking Cessation Promotion Project





Cigarette contains over 7,000 chemical substances in cigarette, including three main ‘killers’: carbon dioxide, tar and nicotine, over 70 carcinogens and others radioactive substances, such as polonium 210, methyl and butane etc. Smoking affects the health of both smokers and non-smokers. It causes harms to almost all organs of smokers. Research proved that one in two smoker will die early because of smoking. Substances released by secondhand smoke are found to be more harmful than those released in active smoking. People who are exposed to secondhand smoke will have higher rate to suffer lung cancer, coronary heart disease and other respiratory diseases.

Public’s awareness on smoking hazards has been increased in recent years, but some elderly smokers are misled by the misconceptions on smoking and quitting. They underestimate the health risk of smoking and wrongly believe that quitting smoking would increase the risk of fatal diseases. Thus they fail to take their step to quit smoking.

According to a cohort study on smoking and mortality of elderly Chinese in Hong Kong released by School of Public Health of The University of Hong Kong in 2014 , the excess risk of current smokers were 421% for lung cancer, 501% for COPD and 63% for cardiovascular disease mortality. Smoking kills one in every two elderly smokers aged 65 years or above and one out of four elderly smokers aged 85 years or above.



COSH has been dedicated to promote smoke-free lifestyle. Currently, there are 615,000 daily cigarette smokers in Hong Kong, in which 23.9% aged 60 years or above. Smokers aged 50 years or above accounts for over 45% of the overall smokers in Hong Kong. In order to meet the needs of elderly and invite them to create a smoke-free healthy life, the “Elderly Smoking Cessation Promotion Project” has been launched since 2012,with the aims to inform tobacco hazards, clarify the misconceptions of smoking cessation and encourage the elderly to kick the smoking habit.

In the Elderly Smoking Cessation Promotion Project, COSH promotes the smoke-free messages through different channels, including health talks, visits to elderly centres, community promotion activities and media promotion, etc.


Health Talks

Health talk is organized in an interactive and interesting approach to promote the benefits of smoke-free lifestyle and remind the elderly the importance of quit smoking. Since 2012, COSH has delivered over 290 sessions of health talk at elderly centres across the territory and reached over 15,000 elderly.


Community Smoke-free Promotion Activity

To disseminate smoke-free message and promote smoke-free lifestyle with elderly and public, COSH organizes various community smoke-free promotion activities included visits to elderly centres, smoke-free workshops, outreach promotions and etc. Since 2017, COSH collaborated with New Territories West Elder Academies Cluster (NTWEAC), an organization funded by the Elderly Commission, to recruit “Smoke-free Elderly Ambassadors” and organize activities to encourage smoking cessation and promote a smoke-free healthy living style to the elderly. The Ambassadors have been promoting smoking cessation to smokers and disseminating the smoke-free messages through elderly centre visits, other community activities as well as in their daily life.


Elderly Smoking Cessation Promotion Project 2019-20

COSH conducted 40 sessions of health talks at elderly centres across the territory and reached over 2,000 elderly.

To share the smoke-free message to the wider scope of elderly and general public, encourage them to support smoking cessation, COSH produced radio segments and invite smoking cessation experts, successful quitters and Smoke-free Elderly Ambassadors to introduce the methods and tips to quit and motivate others to kick the habit. Audio clips were also broadcasted to inform the smoking hazards, clarify the misconceptions of quitting, promote the smoking cessation services and enhance public support of smoking cessation.

Elderly Smoking Cessation Promotion Project 2019-2020 organized a series of community engagement and media promotion activities to enhance smokers’ determination to quit and mobilize non-smokers, particularly the elderly, to lend support to quitters. Recruited by NTWEAC and Asbury Methodist Social Services this year, 42 Smoke-free Elderly Ambassadors joined the Project. The Smoke-free Elderly Ambassador took part in workshops which strengthened their knowledge on smoking cessation, learned Chinese medicine healthcare methods and grasped basic computer application. They created tailor-made social media image messages to encourage others to quit smoking. Successful elderly quitters from NTWEAC and their family members were invited to share their experiences regarding cessation and the hazards of secondhand smoking. Their sharing were also aired on radio.

“Smoke-free Elderly Ambassadors” Appreciation Ceremony was held on 7 January 2020, public health experts and guests engaged in dialogues on the benefits of quitting smoking. Compliments were also paid to the community partners and Smoke-free Elderly Ambassadors for their continuous support to the project and participation in spreading out smoke-free messages. Officiating guests of the ceremony included Dr FUNG Ying (Head of Tobacco and Alcohol Control Office, Department of Health), Dr LAM Ching-choi, SBS, JP (Chairman, Elderly Commission), Mr Antonio KWONG, MH (COSH Chairman) and Ms Yolanda NG, MH (COSH Vice-chairman). Artists Mr Andy LEUNG and Mr On CHAN also took part in the ceremony to promote smoke-free messages through interactive games.

At the ceremony, Prof LAM Tai-hing, BBS, JP (Chair Professor of Community Medicine & Sir Robert Kotewall Professor in Public Health, School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong) shared tips on smoking cessation. Meanwhile, Smoke-free Elderly Ambassadors expressed their thoughts and experiences in regard to smoking cessation and the harms of secondhand smoking as well as encouraged general public to participate in the smoke-free activities.


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