This center is the first of its kind in the theme of smoking cessation.
The Department of Health was designated by the WHO to set up the center in Hong Kong which is aimed at providing evidence-based smoking cessation training for healthcare personnel; developing, testing and evaluating models of smoking cessation; supporting WHO 's initiatives on smoking cessation and assisting WHO in the dissemination of information on smoking cessation.
"The Centre could serve as a regional hub to support smoking cessation training in particular helping the Western Pacific Region and Chinese mainland.
In addition, the Centre could coordinate local training activities and engage a consortium of service providers as smoking cessation partners with the Centre," said Dr. Shin Young-soo, the Regional Director of the Western Pacific of WHO.
He pointed out that Hong Kong has one of the lowest smoking prevalence in the region. Since 1982, Hong Kong has reduced the smoking prevalence from 23 percent to 11.1 percent as a result of incremental and multi-pronged strategies including legislation, taxation, education and publicity, banning of tobacco advertisement, law enforcement and offer of smoking cessation services.
The Director of Health, Dr. P Y Lam, said, "Over the past two years, the Department of Health have trained up more than 100 healthcare personnel from Hong Kong, Macao and Chinese mainland in smoking cessation services. We also opened our doors to tobacco control personnel from the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam."
The government has always recognized the importance of tobacco control work. Additional resources have been allocated to smoking cessation and Tobacco Control Office of the Department of Health has been enhancing local services through enhancement of quit-line services, capacity building of community partners and empowerment of healthcare workers, he said.
The Centre is scheduled to commence operation later this year.