SEOUL, April 25 (Korea Bizwire) – Nearly one in three people who participate in the government-backed anti-smoking initiative continue on for an average of nine months smoke-free, according to a recent report from the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS).
The report published yesterday revealed that of 1,000 respondents who participated in the anti-smoking initiative in 2015, just over 35 percent said they managed to go smoke-free for nine months, with the success rate of smoking cessation gradually going down from around 81 percent after one month to about 45 percent after six months.
“Reports on the success of anti-smoking initiatives in other countries often record the performance of participants only over the following four weeks, but our research was conducted over an extended period in order to better identify the progress,” said an official from the NHIS.
Anti-smoking pills have proven to be particularly effective, according to the official.
Since the anti-smoking initiative took off with around 230,000 participants in 2015, the number of smokers agreeing to accept help from the government has steadily increased, with nearly 360,000 people receiving anti-smoking treatment last year alone.
The success rate has also increased, as more than 40 percent of last year’s participants completed the anti-smoking program, up nearly 20 percent from 2015.
On the back of growing interest, the South Korean government says it will ramp up efforts to tackle smoking from this year by spending up to 1.3 million won ($1,150) on each participant in the form of medication and counseling.
Anyone completing the 12-week anti-smoking program will have all of the related expenses covered by the government, but those who give up will have to pay for part of the treatment.
Considering research findings that show smokers on average take five to seven attempts before successfully breaking the nicotine habit, the government will run the anti-smoking program three times this year to help smokers gradually overcome cigarette addiction.
Those who wish to quit smoking through the anti-smoking initiative can visit the official website of the NHIS to obtain more information.
According to 2013 statistics from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, more than 36 percent of South Korean men aged over 15 smoke, surpassing the average smoking rate of 24 percent in Europe.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)