Tailor-made smoke-free programme to clear the myths of smoking among Hong Kong elder people
Antonio Kwong 1  
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Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health, Hong Kong
Publish date: 2018-03-01
 
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A373
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ABSTRACT
Background and challenges to implementation:
In Hong Kong, over 20% of the 641,300 daily smokers aged 60 years or above. Public's awareness on smoking hazards has increased in recent years. But elder people are misled by the misconceptions on smoking and underestimate the health risks. Elder smokers have lower intention and knowledge on the smoking cessation.

Intervention or response:
In order to inform the tobacco hazards, clarify misconceptions and encourage elder smokers to quit, Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health (COSH) launched the “Elderly Smoking Cessation Promotion Project” in 2012. Health talks and community smoke-free activities are organized. Non-smoking elderly are also engaged as smoke-free agents.

Results and lessons learnt:
Since 2012, COSH has delivered over 140 sessions of health talk and reached over 10,000 elderly. To spread out the smoke-free messages, radio promotions were produced and broadcasted in the channels targeted at elderly.
Various smoke-free promotion activities were organized, including centre visits, pledge ceremony, street promotions, photo exhibition and workshops, to increase elder smokers' motivation to quit and arouse public's awareness and support to smoking cessation. The Project has successfully trained about 60 elder volunteers as ambassadors, encouraged over 200 smokers to pledge to quit smoking and engaged 900 elderly to promote smoke-free lifestyle.
Mass public education and promotion may not able to reach the elder population. They hold stronger misconceptions on smoking cessation and are more reluctant to quit. Tailor-made and reach-out intervention programmes should be developed to build up smoke-free concepts among elderly. Collaborations with elderly service organizations could add benefit to the interventions.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
Elder smokers have comparatively low awareness on harms of smoking and intention to quit. To address the specific need of elder population, COSH's tailor-made Elderly Smoking Cessation Promotion Project strengthened their knowledge on smoking hazards, cleared their myths of quitting and mobilized elder smokers to quit, through an interactive approach and community engagement.

eISSN:1617-9625