Tailor-made programme empowers the youth to sustain pioneering role in disseminating smoke-free messages among peers, family and the community
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Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health, Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR PRC
Publication date: 2021-09-02
Corresponding author
Lawrence Chu   

Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health, Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR PRC
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2021;19(Suppl 1):A263
In Hong Kong, the smoking prevalence is 10.0% in 2017 and nearly two-thirds (61.2%) of daily smokers started smoking at age 10 to 19. To lower the smoking prevalence in the long run, it is of utmost importance to prevent youngsters from smoking and educate them on the smoking hazards.

To commission and train the youngsters to become future leaders in tobacco control, a tailor-made programme was launched targeting the youth aged 14-18 in order to deter them from picking up first cigarettes as well as empower them to disseminate smoke-free messages among their peers, family and community.

Since 2012, Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health (COSH) organized the “Smoke-free Teens” programme every year comprising of training camps, smoke-free programmes in schools and the community, alumni scheme and summer internship. The participants were equipped with knowledge on tobacco control as well as different skills acting as ambassadors to organize activities to penetrate smoke-free messages into schools and the community. COSH also commissioned the School of Nursing and School of Public Health of The University of Hong Kong to conduct an evaluation on the programme.

Favourable attitude towards tobacco control was found after the programme. Comparing the pre-camp and 6-month follow-up survey in 2018-2019, significant increase was shown in the percentage of youths who agree that all tobacco products should be banned (from 75.9% to 92.5%). The programme also allowed majority of them (95.5%) to understand the benefits of a smoke-free lifestyle. Over the years, more than 2,200 youngsters were trained. Around 940 smoke-free programmes were held in schools and the community reaching over 230,000 general public.

The result showed that education is a significant part of tobacco control and a tailor-made programme for the youth can sustain their pioneering role in tobacco control.