Hong Kong SAR's Director of Health Dr. P. Y. Lam and WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Region, Dr. Shin Young-soo launch the WHO Collaborating Centre for Smoking Cessation & Treatment of Tobacco Dependence in Hong Kong, on April 9, 2012. [Photo: news.gov.hk]
By Xu Weiyi
A ceremony marking the official launch of The World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Smoking Cessation & Treatment of Tobacco Dependence in Hong Kong took place on April 9.
The center is the first of its kind worldwide launched by the WHO. The centre will provide evidence-based smoking cessation training for healthcare personnel, and develop, test and evaluate models of smoking cessation. The center will also support the WHO's initiatives on smoking cessation and assist in the dissemination of information on the topic.
Addressing the launch ceremony, the Regional Director for the WHO Western Pacific Region, Dr. Shin Young-soo, said that the centre would serve as a regional hub to support smoking cessation training, in particular helping the Western Pacific Region and the Chinese mainland.
Dr. Shin noted that while Hong Kong is set to continue with its current tobacco control strategies, the expansion of smoking cessation services would offer smokers a golden opportunity to quit and further reduce the amount of tobacco-related diseases.
Dr. Shin pointed out that Hong Kong has one of the lowest smoking prevalence rates in the entire region. Since 1982, Hong Kong has reduced the rate of smoking prevalence from 23% to 11.1% as a result of incremental and multi-pronged strategies including legislation, taxation, education and publicity, the banning of tobacco advertisements, law enforcement and the provision of smoking cessation services.
Also speaking at the ceremony was the Hong Kong SAR's Director of Health, Dr. P. Y. Lam, who said that over the past two years, the Hong Kong SAR's Department of Health trained more than 100 healthcare personnel from Hong Kong, Macau and the Chinese mainland in the field of smoking cessation services.
Dr. Lam said that the department also opened its doors to tobacco control personnel from the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Dr. Lam stated that Hong Kong will continue to share its experience with various parties in the field of smoking cessation in the coming years and work towards a smoke-free Hong Kong.
The Centre for Smoking Cessation, which is scheduled to start operating later this year, is located at Wu Chung House, Wan Chai, Hong Kong.