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Call on drivers and passengers to join the “Smoke-free Drivers Club” Promote smoke-free culture to the transportation industry
2018.11.23
Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health (COSH) has spared no effort in promoting smoke-free messages to the public and also tailored publicity programme for industries with high smoking prevalence including taxi, construction and catering industries in recent years. The use of transportation is an integral part of citizens’ everyday life. In Hong Kong, over 12 million passenger journeys are made on the public transport system every day, while the transportation industry has over 320,000 labour force. According to the survey conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Council, more than one-fourth of (27%) professional drivers smoke regularly. This year, COSH launches the “Smoke-free Drivers” Programme (“the Programme”) to encourage smokers in the transportation industry to quit smoking, strengthen the participation of the industry in promoting smoke-free culture which brings positive impacts on the occupational safety and health, productivity and image of drivers, as well as remind the drivers, passengers and industry operators to comply with the smoking ban in public transport carriers.

The kick-off event of the Programme was held today and officiated by Dr Jeff LEE (Head of Tobacco and Alcohol Control Office, Department of Health), Mr Joseph TSUI (Chief Transport Officer of Transport Department), Mr Antonio KWONG (COSH Chairman) and Ms Vienna LAI (COSH Executive Director).

“Professional drivers have higher risks of suffering from various occupational diseases due to long working hours, irregular meal times, lack of rest and exercises. Tobacco use will further increase the risks of serious diseases and also hamper road safety. Smoking is also strictly prohibited in the public transport carriers. The toxins in the third-hand smoke will persist in the carriers for weeks or even months.” said Mr Antonio KWONG, COSH Chairman. The Programme aims to urge the industry and public to develop a healthy smoke-free lifestyle and say no to cigarettes, as well as encourage smokers to beat their addiction to enjoy a refreshing, comfortable, safe and smoke-free journey.

Dr Jeff LEE, Head of Tobacco and Alcohol Control Office, Department of Health called on the companies and organizations of the industry, drivers and the public to support the Programme by encouraging smokers to kick the habit and building a smoke-free travelling environment to avoid the harms of smoking, secondhand smoke and third-hand smoke. Dr Lee added that the Government has attached great importance to protect the health of drivers and practitioners of the industry. The Programme can help remind the industry and the general public to comply with the smoking ban in public transport carriers and more importantly, encourage the drivers and passengers to get rid of tobacco for the health of oneself and others.

During the event, a professional driver Mr CHOW Kin-piu shared that he became more energetic after quitting smoking and could refrain the passengers and others from the third-hand smoke in carriage and on his clothes. Mr Eddie CHOI, Assistant General Manager of Eternal East Cross-border Coach Management Limited claimed that transportation companies played a significant role in promoting smoke-free culture since their support could help strengthen drivers’ determination to quit smoking. Efficiency and image of the companies could also be enhanced. Ms Anita CHAN, an experienced smoking cessation counselor shared quit tips with the industry practitioners, including taking deep breath and doing stretching exercise to divert attention from smoking. She reminded quitters to resist the smoking temptation with strong determination and ask family and friends for support. Singers Mr Phil LAM, Ms Joey WONG and Ms Cath WONG explained the smoking hazards through games and encouraged the professional drivers to quit smoking.

There are around 70 supporting organizations, including the Transport Department, Road Safety Council, Transport Advisory Committee and various organizations of commercial vehicle drivers which help spread smoke-free messages to the industry and the general public. The Programme is also supported by smoking cessation partners that will provide professional counseling services for free to members of “Smoke-free Drivers Club” who are determined to kick the habit. Smoking cessation support will be provided to companies in the industry, such as health talks and industry-specific promotion collaterals. Besides, street promotion activities will be held at public transport interchanges across the territory to recruit practitioners of the industry and citizens to join the “Smoke-free Drivers Club”.

For more information about the Programme and join the “Smoke-free Drivers Club”, please visit www.smokefree.hk/drivers.

Photo captions:

Officiating guests united the power of different sectors to promote smoke-free messages among the transportation industry.
Officiating guests united the power of different sectors to promote smoke-free messages among the transportation industry.

Around 70 supporting organizations will assist in encouraging the industry and the public to join the “Smoke-free Drivers Club” and enjoy a refreshing, comfortable, safe and smoke-free journey.
Around 70 supporting organizations will assist in encouraging the industry and the public to join the “Smoke-free Drivers Club” and enjoy a refreshing, comfortable, safe and smoke-free journey.

Mr CHOW Kin-piu, a professional driver who quitted smoking, Mr Eddie CHOI, Assistant General Manager of Eternal East Cross-border Coach Management Limited and Ms Anita CHAN, an experienced smoking cessation counselor shared at the event on the benefits of smoking cessation, significant role played by transportation companies in promoting smoke-free culture and practical quit tips.
Mr CHOW Kin-piu, a professional driver who quitted smoking, Mr Eddie CHOI, Assistant General Manager of Eternal East Cross-border Coach Management Limited and Ms Anita CHAN, an experienced smoking cessation counselor shared at the event on the benefits of smoking cessation, significant role played by transportation companies in promoting smoke-free culture and practical quit tips.
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