DOH provides ‘real-time counseling’ for smokers wanting to quit

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Can’t seem to stop smoking?

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Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial has decided to go hi-tech to help those who want to quit by providing them with real-time counseling and support anywhere with the use of phone and mobile-centered services.

“Why attain something that is attainable, [when]we [can]aim [for]higher,” said Ubial during the launching of the P27 million national ‘quit line’ by the Department of Health (DOH) at the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP) in Quezon City on Tuesday.

Smokers wanting to avail of these services may call the hotline 165-364 to have a one-on-one talk with a support representative.

To access the mobile service, text ‘STOPSMOKE’ to (29290)165364, which a support representative will receive directly instead of a voice operator. The service is available to SMART, Sun Cellular and Globe subscribers.

Ubial said the DOH anti-smoking programs have reduced tobacco use from 29.7 percent in 2009, to 23.8 percent by 2015.

“So a reduction of over six percentage points, that means about one million Filipino adults have stopped smoking in this period,” she said.

She also ordered all DoH personnel to work harder to be able to stop the spread of the vice in the Philippines, noting that they want to decrease smoking prevalence in the country by “no less than 15 percent by 2022”.

Anti-smoking advocates and partners from the World Health Organization (WHO), Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), New Vois Association (NVAP), Health Justice Philippines among others, were present for the launch. KENNETH HERNANDEZ

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