Health authorities launch "Milestone" Stop Smoking campaign

Swiss health authorities have launched a major stop-smoking campaign that involves anything from Swiss celebrities to a poster campaign and Internet chat rooms.

This content was published on October 27, 1999 - 17:25

Swiss health authorities have launched a major stop-smoking campaign that involves anything from Swiss celebrities to a poster campaign and Internet chat rooms.

The Federal Health Office and the Swiss Cancer League have enlisted Swiss soul singer Emel (picture), TV stars and showbiz celebrities as part of the “Milestone” campaign to kick the habit.

The basic idea of the campaign is to make the last cigarette, cigar or pipe a key milestone in people’s lives – just as getting married, falling in love or the birth are key moments.

A poster campaign with a decidedly 1960s retro-feel draws on those very themes and tries to move people away from their nicotine addiction – not through scare-tactics but by making it appear fun and a matter of “lifestyle.”

Recent studies have shown that about 50 percent of smokers would like to quit the habit.

“They need a good reason to say, ‘hey, that’s the day I’ll do it,’ and we just propose to them that they pick a day and say: that is the day when I’ll quit smoking,” said Felix Gutzwiller, preventive medicine specialist from Zurich University.

Apart from a telephone helpline, radio commercials and free nicotine dispensers, there is also the www.yourmilestone.ch website, which provides practical help on stopping smoking.

The website offers a chat room where people find support from fellow addicts and can exchange their experiences and feelings about a life without nicotine.

There are 1.8 million smokers in Switzerland, with a noticeable increase among women and – most alarmingly -- children.

From staff and wire reports.

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