Beijing hotline helps smokers 'start quitting'

Beijing hotline helps smokers 'start quitting'

CHINA - Beijing's hotline for answering people's questions about public health policies, has helped more than 80 people who wanted to quit smoking since 2011 by following up with them on the phone, an official with the hotline said on Thursday.

Meng Yuan, who works for the business office of the city's hotline 12320, said the hotline has been providing counseling services to smokers who want to quit since 2011.

"Our staff workers took a training course for a month at the California Smokers' Helpline in the United States, and introduced its design into our own service," she said.

For those who call seeking help to quit smoking, the hotline's workers call them back periodically to offer encouragement or help them make a plan to kick cigarettes.

The hotline has three workers who provide counseling.

Yet only a few of the smokers who called for help have completed the whole process successfully.

What matters more than how many have successfully quit is how many have been encouraged to start quitting, and hotlines have been acknowledged internationally as a good way to help get the process moving, said Jiang Yan, an official from the national 12320 Health Hotline.

There are 28 provinces across the country that have launched hotlines. Ten provinces and cities provide counseling services, Jiang said.

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