Last year, the National Statistics Office said some 9.54 million or 18.94 per cent of the total Thai population were smokers.
To help reduce the number of cigarette addicts, the Srinakharinwirot University (SWU) in cooperation with the Lung Disease Hospital, recently announced its "Quit Smoking Campaign for the Royal Father" in celebration of His Majesty's 80th birthday.
"Our goal is to help at least 300 people quit smoking before the end of this year," said Assoc Prof Dr Yongyuth Tundulawessa, deputy dean for Planning and Development at the SWU.
The project is free for anyone who wants to give up smoking and doesn't involve participants visiting hospitals, attending seminars or meeting doctors during the "quitting" process.
All a person wanting to quit needs to do is have a chat with a doctor over the phone, Yongyuth said.
"While having the conversation, the doctor will look for reasons behind the habit and will then give you the appropriate quitting technique," he said. "Those doctors are good at persuading and constant encouragement makes it easy to quit."
However, advice is not the only thing to help people quit. Participants will also be given free nicotine chewing gum, "Nicomild-2", developed by Yongyuth and SWU for free at the Lung Disease Hospital. The gum can also be bought at local drug stores.
The project lasts for about 27 days for each participant, with the doctor following up over the phone every week.
Participants who cannot quit within the set period can ask for an extension before the end of November.
Call (02) 510 2023 or (084) 439 2539-48 to register.
Did you know?
-The capacity of a human lung is approximately 2.5 litres of air, which is naturally reduced by about 0.1 per cent every year. However, cigarette smoke makes this damage three times worse.
-Smoking can be the cause of more than 25 diseases such as coronary thrombosis, lung cancer, heart disease, impotent, chronic bronchitis to name a few.
-Lung cancer can be cured if it is diagnosed early. However, since people don't find out what's happening to their lungs without taking an X-ray, most of the time it's too late. That's why, 80 per cent of lung cancer patients die within a year.
-Those who suffer from pulmonary emphysema from smoking end up spending about Bt500,000 in medical expenses every year. This amount does not include the amount spent under social security.
-Seventy per cent of emphysema patients die within ten years.
-Menthol cigarettes are the leading cause for lung cancer because its cooling sensation encourages smokers to draw deeply and hold the smoke longer in their lungs.
-A pack-a-day smoker spends Bt20,000 on cigarettes per year.
-Since Thailand now has about 10 million heavy smokers, more than Bt 100,000 million has been spent on cigarettes so far. The construction of one line in the Skytrain network costs Bt100,000 million.
-According to a study in Britain, men who quit smoking before turning 35 bring their chances of getting lung cancer down to those who have never smoked
Source: Action on Smoking and Health Foundation and Assoc Prof Dr Yongyuth Tundulawessa, Faculty of Science, Srinakharinwirot University
By Watchara Saengsrisin