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Kicking the habit Government launches campaign to help smokers quit

The campaign consists of billboards like this one with smoke-clouded people and the statement "He/she is quitting - you can too"

(Keystone)


The health ministry has launched a new campaign to give smokers who are thinking about quitting the final push they need to give up the habit for good.

According to the organisation Suchtmonitoring Schweiz, 57% of daily smokers have expressed the desire to quit.

“We want to motivate these people to stop using tobacco,” said health ministry director Pascal Strupler.

The campaign will be waged on three fronts: through a telephone hotline, doctors and advice centres. Strupler adds that “smokers who want to quit have a better chance at success if they get professional help” and that two out of three people who failed to quit smoking didn’t benefit from any outside help.

The percentage of smokers in Switzerland has fallen in the last decade from about 27% to 20% of the population, placing it just below the European Union’s 23%.

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However, Strupler told the media on Monday that the 1.7 million Swiss smokers are “still too many” and that tobacco consumption remains the leading cause of early death in Switzerland, at a cost to the public of CHF5 billion ($5.3 billion) per year.

The health ministry’s new “SmokeFree”external link campaign also seeks to strengthen the positive image of a smoke-free society, according to Strupler. A smoking ban for restaurants and indoor spaces brought in nearly five years ago led to a decrease in second-hand smoke exposure from 35% in 2002 to 6% in 2013.

The campaign will cost nine million francs in total and will last until 2017. It will consist primarily of TV adverts and billboards placed across the country. 

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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