Canto-pop stars share tips to help you stub out

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 March, 2012, 12:00am


Quit Smoking - Tobacco Control Office of the Department of Health
Rating 9/10

Despite the uninspired 'Together, we can create a smoke-free Hong Kong' slogan, this government-produced app is recommended, not least because you learn that the Health Department has several programmes for 'smoking cessation', including one that uses traditional Chinese medicine. I thought it was all taxation and scary pictures on cigarette packets.

Number one on the app menu is a device to monitor your progress. At set-up, you enter how much you usually spend a day on cigarettes, and then enter a reward that you would like to save up for. Small steps first, I entered a goal of HK$6,000 for a holiday. Doing the maths, this goal would be achievable within four months if I stayed clean. Every day, either tap the 'I stayed clean today' or the 'I smoked today' button and see your saving's total rises, or not.

The app comes with a nicotine dependence test, information about the department's quitting services, discussions of ways to quit, benefits and hazards of quitting, and a section on myths.

Myths such as 'cigars are expensive therefore less damaging' and 'I am old, so why bother quitting?' are quashed. Cigars also cause many fatal diseases such as lung cancer and oral cavity cancer, and even if you are over 60, you may also reclaim three years of your life if you quit. I must tell my father.

The app also helps you deal with cravings, with tips and advice, and has a daily alert to help with maintenance. This would probably work better if I was more of a follower of the Canto-pop and film scene, but I still got the idea.

The Health Department has enlisted the support of a string of stars, including Vincy Chan, Yan Ng and Sherman Chung who, through YouTube videos, share their tips. If they can stay clean, I can, too.