At the end of a long work day, a father might go out to dinner with some friends. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, if they gather together to smoke as a way of relieving stress, not only is it harmful to their health, but it also hurts pandemic prevention efforts. According to the Health Promotion Administration’s 2018 Adult Smoking Behavior Survey, 23.4% of men smoke, which means 2.27 million smokers. The 30-to-40 year-old age group has the highest percentage (35.4%), with one in every three men being a smoker.
The World Health Organization reports that smoking and second-hand smoke often cause cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and chronic lung diseases. Moreover, third-hand smoke that lingers in the environment can cause cognitive defects in children and increase the occurrence of infant asthma. Wang Ying-Wei, the Health Promotion Administration Director General, points out that people who setting the smoking cessation date are about 20% more successful than those who do not. He encourages all fathers to make a commitment on Father’s Day to quit smoking for the sake of their family and their own health.
I Will Stay Healthy for My Children’s Sake!
As someone who had smoked for more than 20 years, Mr. Lin consumed a pack of cigarettes a day. Not only his colleagues and business contacts smoked habitually, but his relatives also liked to go out together for a smoke. When he had a heart attack and was admitted to an intensive care unit, every doctor and medical personnel that checked up on him advised him to quit smoking. Upon considering his health and the health of his family and friends, Mr. Lin decided to quit smoking. Besides shifting his attention away from smoking, he also announced his decision to those around him, so that they could help him by not offering him a cigarette. Mr. Lin has now successfully quitted smoking. He says that on this Fathers’ Day, he commits again to remain smoke-free and healthy for the sake of his three children.
Mr. Fan has successfully quitted smoking for 10 months. Ten months ago, he was diagnosed with tongue cancer. Since then, he has often regretted not heeding his wife’s advice and his children’s concerns and not taking the time to travel with his family as a way of showing them how much he loves them. The doctor convinced him to quit smoking to save his health. With the help of Taiwan Smokers’ Helpline (TSH) and its continuous follow-up, Mr. Fan was able to break free from the clutch of smoking addiction. Nowadays, he spends more time with his family, takes them out on trips, and shares his experience with other smokers to encourage them to quit.
Combining Smoking Cessation Clinics and Smokers' Helpline Counseling Increases Smoking Cessation Success Rate
Research has shown that, compared with providing only a hotline to call, smokers’ commitment to quit smoking is increased when healthcare providers briefly advise them to quit smoking and transfer them to a smokers' helpline, which actively follows up with each individual. With this model, the cessation commitment rate is 13 times higher1. Some studies have also found that smokers who receive cessation counseling, support, and reminders after being discharged from the hospital tend to be more successful in quitting and to remain smoke-free2.
The Health Promotion Administration has commissioned the Teacher Chang Foundation to manage Taiwan Smokers’ Helpline, which partners with smoking cessation clinics physicians and registered nurses, after confirming an individual’s willingness to quit and obtaining his or her permission, transfer the person’s contact information to TSH. TSH then contacts the individual to provide counseling and assistance.
Dr. Chen Chuan-Yu at the National Cheng Kung University Hospital says, “TSH’s intervention has provided significant effects in supporting the stability of the smoking cessation process for our clients.” The 7-day point prevalence abstinence rate (PPAR) at 6 month has improved from 35% to over 40% when smokers are transferred to TSH and supported by its phone-based counseling and follow-up.
Be a Hero and Quit Smoking on Father’s Day
The TSH CEO Tu Hsimin explains that phone-based counseling and follow-up are an effective care system for those who want to quit smoking. The cessation success rate is increased substantially when a smoker is willing to accept TSH’s individualized counseling and follow-up and is contacted regularly to report his or her smoking/quitting status.
There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco. The Health Promotion Administration urges the public to take advantage of the diversified smoking cessation services for quitting smoking. There are nearly 4,000 healthcare institutions or community pharmacies nationwide that offer smoking cessation services. Smokers' helpline is also available toll-free at 0800-636363. The smokers' helpline provides convenient and confidential services that integrate psychological counseling. It also provides personalized cessation strategies based on each person’s specific challenges. No matter where you are, the smokers' helpline is at your fingertips. Love yourself and your family; protect your children from the danger of smoking. This Father’s Day, give yourself and your family a present of love. Be a hero and quit now!
◎Taiwan Smokers' Helpline toll-free Quitline: 0800-636363
◎Nearly 4,000 institutions with smoking-cessation services (call 886-2-23520120 for the directory)
◎Contact your local Health Bureau to receive smoking-cessation consultation or services and to request a free brochure on strategies for quitting smoking.
1. Vidrine JI, Shete S, Cao YM, Greisinger A, Harmonson P, Sharp B, et al. Ask-advise-connect: A new approach to smoking treatment delivery in health care settings. JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(6):458–64.
2. Liebmann, E. P., Richter, K. P., Scheuermann, T., & Faseru, B. (2019). Effects of post-discharge counseling and medication utilization on short and long-term smoking cessation among hospitalized patients.
Preventive medicine reports, 15, 100937.