Mobile instant messaging has become a part of most Hong Kongers’ life in recent years. A local study found that chat-based instant messaging support can increase quit rate by 60-90%. 

School of Nursing and School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong conducted a study to investigate the effect of chat-based instant messaging support on quitting in participants of COSH’s 8th “Quit to Win” Smoke-free Community Campaign organized in 2017-2018. A total of 1,185 smokers were randomized to the intervention group (591 participants) and control group (594 participants). The intervention group received brief smoking cessation advice, a self-help booklet and Whatsapp chat support for 3 months, while the control group only received brief advice and the self-help booklet. In the intervention group, the quit rates at 3-month follow-up and 6-month follow-up (3 months after the end of Whatsapp chat support) were respectively 90% and 60% higher than those in the control group. Specifically, the effect of the Whatsapp chat support was stronger in smokers who were initially not ready to quit. The results also showed that smokers who interacted with a counsellor through Whatsapp and used smoking cessation services were significantly more likely to quit. 

COSH organizes the 
“Quit to Win” Smoke-free Community Campaign every year to encourage smokers to take the first step in quitting to enjoy the benefits of smoke-free healthy life. Different non-profit organizations in Hong Kong offer free smoking cessation services. The Department of Health operates the Integrated Smoking Cessation Hotline 1833183 for access to cessation information and different cessation services. The Hotline also offers tailor-made cessation counselling services. Smokers are encouraged to seek cessation services when difficulties arise during quitting. 

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