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Hospitals join anti-smoking campaign
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Ten local hospitals will open out-patient services this year under a nation-wide plan to help people quit smoking.

Officials from Shanghai Health Education Institute's smoking control office yesterday said under the plan, hospitals should restrict smoking areas, medical staff should quit smoking and they should teach patients the harm of smoking during regular medical appointments.

The Ministry of Health plans to establish anti-smoking out-patient services in 31 provinces and municipalities this year.

Authorities will also launch large-scale research into cigarette consumption and smoking behavior in China with a view to forming a smoking control network and non-smoking public venues.

The pilot programs start next month in Shanghai and Beijing.

"The 10 hospitals, including Huashan, Zhongshan, Tongji and Xuhui District Central hospitals, are all preparing for staff training and schedule arrangements," said Li Mingzhu, director of the health education institute's smoking control office.

"The service is mainly provided at the respiratory disease department, where doctors prescribe medication like nicotine replacement therapy, teach skills in controlling smoking and give psychological direction," Li said.

Li pointed out that smoking is a psychical and psychological addiction, which requires long-term and appropriate intervention.

"We will learn from similar clinics in Hong Kong and some developed countries. We will consider Hong Kong's experiences in opening such services at night, as most young and middle-aged smokers work during the day."

Li said staff at local hospitals should set an anti-smoking example.

"Research has found that more than 10 percent of medical staff and about 40 to 50 percent of male doctors smoke," Li said.

"This is a bad influence on patients and the public."

(Shanghai Daily February 16, 2008)

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