Quit smoking for the children

Updated: 2007-10-17 06:34

By Louise Ho(HK Edition)

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A survey has found that the majority of Hong Kong smokers who've quitted smoking did so for the sake of their children.

The TNS survey, conducted in June and July, interviewed 519 male smokers in Hong Kong, mainland, Taiwan and Korea aged 35-55 who smoked at least 10 cigarettes a day.

For the respondents in Hong Kong 70 percent have tried to kick the habit.

Among them 69 percent said the strongest reason for quitting was to make their children happier.

Also, 85 percent of interviewees in Hong Kong said encouragement and support from children were very and extremely important if they choose to stop smoking.

Hong Kong male smokers seemed to be more family-oriented than their Asian counterparts.

The number of Hong Kong male smokers who tried to quit smoking for their children and seek encouragement from children was the highest among the four regions.

Thirty-seven years old Tony Chan working in financial field is a good father who had quitted smoking for his five-year-old son.

He had been addicted to smoking for 20 years. He had to smoke at least a pack of cigarette a day during peak time.

For the health of his family the heavy smoker had eschewed smoking with his willpower when his wife was pregnant.

He also wanted to be a role model for his son so that his son would not follow his footsteps.

"As a dad I don't want to see my child smoking when he grows up," he said yesterday.

However, due to work pressure he picked up the addiction again and he had been smoking on and off for a few years since his child was born.

To get rid of his addiction for good, he has started taking medication for two weeks after consulting with his family doctor.

"After taking medicine, I've tried to smoke a few cigarettes but I no longer enjoy it," he said.

Lam Bing, deputy convenor of Hong Kong Primary Care Foundation Smoking Cessation Alliance, an organization that promotes correct and effective method of giving up smoking, said smokers like Chan often failed to quit smoking by willpower as they were seriously addicted.

Nicotine released dopamine in our brain which created a feel-good sensation for smokers, like feelings of happiness and satisfaction, he said.

Without nicotine, heavy smokers would feel anxious and uncomfortable, he added.

Medicine could make that sensation disappear, which will help smokers quit the habit, he said.

Smokers who wanted to quit could do one simple test to evaluate their dependence on nicotine, he said.

They should ask themselves how soon they have to smoke the first cigarette after they wake up and calculate the number of cigarettes they smoke per day.

"If the total score for the two questions is four or above, then they have an addiction of nicotine," he said.

"For family and their own sake they should visit family doctor or government's smoke cessation clinic for medication help," he added.

(HK Edition 10/17/2007 page4)