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Acupuncture used to stop smoking in Hong Kong


The vast majority of smokers who have taken part in a smoking cessation programme involving the use of acupuncture have expressed their satisfaction with the service. The programme, which is subvented by the Department of Health (DH), has helped many smokers to quit the habit since its launch in April 2010.

The programme is a joint effort by the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Pok Oi Hospital (POH) and the DH.

Free acupuncture and counselling services are provided to smokers by POH Chinese medicine practitioners (CMPs) in 18 community-based mobile clinics which cover more than 90 locations across Hong Kong.

The State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine provides expertise in designing the treatment protocol and training to the CMPs for delivery of acupuncture services.

Reviewing the progress of the programme in a press conference today (March 28), the Head of the DH's Tobacco Control Office, Dr Raymond Ho, said the programme targets smokers aged 18 or above who are suitable for receiving acupuncture after assessment by CMPs.

By the end of 2011, a total of 2,388 clients had used the smoking cessation service.

Among them, 64 per cent were male smokers while 36 per cent were female smokers. About 60 per cent were aged between 30 and 49.

Around 65 per cent of the smokers had a long history of smoking, at more than 20 years, and about 30 per cent consumed more than one pack of cigarettes per day. Some 51 per cent of them were considered as having a high level of nicotine dependence and about half of the clients had tried to quit repeatedly by employing different methods.

Dr Ho said, "Feedback on the programme is positive. Preliminary clinical findings have shown that acupuncture is an effective way to quit smoking and no serious side effect has been reported so far."

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