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There are about 4.89 million smokers in Taiwan, and 47% of them say that they are willing to quit smoking. 22.6% of the male who have quitted smoking at least once say that they had been advised by doctors to do so and 56.9% of those who had been advised to quit smoking say that they do so due to doctor's advice.
However, the fee for quit smoking is not covered by the National Health Insurance.
"As the price of medicine to quit smoking appears higher than that of the cigarette, it doesn't make much sense to quit smoking, "said Chao "According to the World Bank's study, raising 10% of the cigarette price, the consumption of cigarette will reduce by 4% to 8 %". Comparatively, Taiwan's tobacco price is low."
A higher price of tobacco is effective especially at reducing smoking among the adolescents and once the adolescents get addicted, it will be hard to quit. "Now, we levy one package of 20 cigarettes for NT$ 10. According to the prices we sell in Taiwan, which only accounts for 40% of the price. In many developed countries, the tax can take up to 80%. Maybe in the future we will consider to raise it," said Chao.
Smoking involved with physiological, psychological and social factors. To successfully quit smoking, the willpower of the smoker is an important factor. Besides, the assistance from experts is also important. Given that the percentage of quit smoking is just 10% of smokers. BHP expands the quit smoking service to let more smokers realize the tobacco hazards and the ways to quit smoking.
"We have done something to help smokers quit smoking by providing subsidie for buying the nicotine patches, setting up telephone lines for quit-smoking consultation and arranged classes to the community" said Chao.
The BHP also set regulations on time of cigarette commercials, the size of warning signs on the package and forbids smoking in doors.
It is not allowed for all stores selling cigarettes to the adolescents under age 18 and pregnant women but the implementation is not satisfying.
"I have to admit the lack of execution. According to our investigation, 80% to 90% of the adolescents can buy tobacco from stores," said Chao, "We hope to improve it through persuasion and forfeit. Last year, we have fined 532 stores who sold cigarettes to the adolescent and pregnant women.
Outpatient service for quit smoking
According to the poll, 47% of the smokers say that they have intention to quit smoking and have tried twice in average. 20.8% of the current smoking quitters said that they had been advised by doctors. For smoking quitters, if they don't get any professional assistance, the percent of success is merely 0.5 %. "In light of 47% male and 5% female smoking percentage, we estimated that half of the smokers can be helped to quit smoking, "said Chao.
The research of the BHP shows that the outcome of quit smoking is closely related to doctors' advice. Furthermore medicines and patches can largely help smokers quit smoking. Besides medicines, other services such as professional consultation and behavioral remedy can effectively raise the percentage of success on quit smoking.
"If medical insurance covers the expenditure of quit smoking, it would help," said Chao. Therefore, the BHP uses part of the budgets to be subsidy for quit smoking plan. In September 2002, the BHP has started to subsidize smoking-quitters every year once and every week NT$ 250, (low-income smoker for NT$ 500) as long as 8 weeks. From 2002 to September 2004, the cases of quit smoking reported from 956 medical institutes of 316 townships are 42,001 and 93,354 in counts. The percentage of success within 6 months is 22%. From 2005, the BHP plans to raise the subsidy to a year twice, and every week for NT$ 400 (low-income smoker for NT$ 500), as long as 8 weeks. The medical institutes transferring pregnant women to quit-smoking line will be subsidized NT$ 100.
The outpatient service provides smoking quitters an integated service. For the smokers who want to quit but unwilling to go to hospitals, the BHP built up 23 for free toll telephone lines to provide consultative service 12 hours a day and six days a week. TEL: 0800-636363.
The line began from January 2003 and till December 2004, 21,459 people have received consultation and after six month's track, the success percentage of quit smoking was 25%.
The telephone line service not only provides consultation but also tracks the status of smoking quitters to make sure that they constantly giving up smoking.
International Cooperation
Tobacco hazards reduction is a global issue and to address the smoking problem requires the cooperation of all countries.
In May 2003 the 56th World Health Assembly passed WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. (WHO FCTC)
FCTC asks the signing countries to propagate tobacco hazards and through legislation, execution and other measures to reduce tobacco hazards. Until February 24, 2005, 168 countries had signed the convention and 57 countries ratified it. The convention officially took effect on February 27 2005.
FCTC was signed in Taiwan on March 30, 2005. "After WHO FCTC was passed, we have paid close attention to keep up with the international standard. We passed Tobacco Control Act in 1997 when many countries just began to legislate. We don't lose it like the hare and tortoise race," said Chao.
s Other global, regional and bilateral international cooperation plans are underway to share the successful experience
Modify Date:2015/01/29 Publish Date:2007/03/05