SINGAPORE - More than 20,000 signed up for a 28-day programme run by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) to quit smoking, but only about 10 per cent stayed away from cigarettes for the entire duration.
"It's not as high as we'd like, but internationally it compares quite well," said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health Amrin Amin.
He was giving updates on the HPB's I Quit 28-Day Countdown programme - which provides smokers with the knowledge and motivation to give up the habit - last year, as it launched a new campaign on Sunday (Oct 14) to raise awareness on smoking's downsides.
Earlier this year the Government announced it aims to reduce the number of smokers here to less than 10 per cent of the population by 2020. Last year, the smoking rate was 12 per cent.
Getting people to give up smoking is not a one-off effort, and various factors play a part in getting people to quit, said Mr Amrin, adding the Government will study ways to strengthen the process over the next year or so.
According to a study conducted by the HPB last year on the barriers faced by those who want to give up smoking, health, family and finances were the top three factors that would motivate smokers to quit.
They are also the focus areas of the new campaign titled I Should Have Said, which will run until December this year.
A series of videos will be posted on the I Quit Facebook page, featuring former smokers sharing the negative impacts of smoking on their health.
As part of its efforts to stamp out smoking, the Government will raise the legal age for smoking to 19 from next year, with Mr Amrin noting people are less likely to pick up smoking the older they get.
However, he said smokers should give up the habit for more than just punitive reasons.
"More than legal measures, we actually want to tell people to do this for their health. That is what this campaign is about, to let people know smoking causes harm to their lives and their family members."
Civil servant Frankie Chong, 39, who gave up the habit last year after being a smoker for about 25 years, said he could not have done so without the support of his wife.
"Family support makes a big difference," he said.