Aids to quit abound but most not interested

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 May, 2007, 12:00am

It is hard to miss the advertisements for products offering to help people phase out their nicotine addiction when you turn on the television at night. But while mainland manufacturers advertise these products, industry insiders say the demand for them has yet to live up to expectations.

In one of the most recent campaigns, two Hong Kong movie stars are seen puffing away on an 'electronic cigar' called Purixcig in a commercial that ran for more than 10 minutes.

'Inhale [the smoke] and then exhale it, and you will become more and more healthy,' the commercial says before claiming the product can make a perfect gift: it helps remove toxic tobacco residue in the body and even non-smokers can use it without harming their health.

The Ruyan cigarette brand has also gained notoriety after it was caught in a controversy last year - mainland media questioned the effect of the product on health.

The Cancer Foundation of China said lung cancer had become the No1 killer on the mainland since 2000, while other reports show lung cancer rates had risen 30 per cent over the past five years. A rise in infertility on the mainland has also been linked to smoking, Xinhua reports.

But despite reports on how tobacco smoke is causing more sickness, Yang Yanxia , who works for a nicotine replacement products firm, said their products were not selling well. 'Awareness of the effects of tobacco smoke is still low in China. And efforts to control tobacco are not very strong,' she said.

A 2002 national survey found that 74 per cent of mainland smokers had no intention of quitting the habit.

A worker at the tobacco-control clinic in Beijing's Chaoyang Hospital said an average of just three or four smokers attended the clinic when it opened on Monday afternoons.

Her point was highlighted by the ignorance of other medical workers of the clinic's existence. At least six hospital staff did not know where the clinic was and others did not know if it was still operating, when they were approached by the Post.