By: Liezl Dunuan
DOH, Quitline, stop smoking, hotline, World Health Organization, cancer preventionPHOTO VIA PIXABAY CREATIVE COMMONSSmoking is a leading cause of death and diseases in the world.
The Department of Health wants to help smokers kick the habit, through the new DOH Quitline. The Quitline allows smokers to call a hotline, where they can speak to counselors from the Lung Center of the Philippines. It is part of the department’s Smoking Cessation Program.
According to the Inquirer, the program is being implemented in partnership with the World Health Organization. The government aims to lower the number of smokers in the country by 15% by the year 2022.
How DOH Quitline Works
Launched last week, smokers who want to quit can call the hotline 165-364. They will be connected to counselors from the Lung Center who will get their personal health information and provide them with real-time advice and counselling. Information collected through the hotline will remain confidential.
Metro Manila callers can call the hotline for free, while those from the provinces may incur long-distance charges. According to an Interaksyon report, the department is looking for ways to make it free of charge nationwide.
The good news for mobile users is that DOH also has a mobile-based program for smoking cessation. Users register through text by sending STOPSMOKE to 29290-165-364. They will receive a text message, asking to text their full name. Once they receive a confirmation, they will be asked to continue by texting TULOY or if not sure, texting WAKAS. If they choose to continue, it will then ask for their target date in quitting.
From the time they register until their target date, they will receive daily reminders via text to help them with their target. All text messages will be free of charge.
Quitline Gets Support From Cancer Survivors
The program got support from a group of cancer survivors. The group urged the public, especially the smokers to give the hotline or the SMS program a try.
Emar Rojas, head of New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) said, “Tobacco smoking is one of the single leading causes of death and diseases in the world. The Quit Line is the final link to complete government support to the non communicable disease prevention program of the country.” Rojas is himself a former smoker and a survivor of laryngeal cancer.