As the Chairman of the Chiropractic Doctors Association of Hong Kong (CDAHK), I am penning this letter to express our support for the public consultation on the Vibrant, Healthy, and Tobacco-free Hong Kong initiative. We acknowledge the compelling need to address the prevalent issue of tobacco usage in our society.
We concur with your concerns about the health implications of smoking, particularly in light of our aging population and the rising incidence of chronic diseases. The uptrend in female smokers and the vulnerability of secondary school students to smoking pose serious threats that demand immediate attention.
Research has shown that chiropractors cater to a significant proportion of tobacco users (Muramoto ML et al., 2014). Our health and healing philosophies, as well as our practice patterns, are ideally suited to provide brief interventions (Muramoto ML et al., 2014). Studies have illuminated the feasibility of implementing systematic changes in chiropractic settings to identify tobacco users, advise them to quit, and refer them to cessation services (Buettner-Schmidt K et al., 2018). Chiropractors have proven their ability to offer effective smoking cessation counsel (Buettner-Schmidt K et al., 2018).
Given the link between tobacco usage and the health issues often treated by chiropractors, we are uniquely positioned to provide patients with personalized health feedback, which could potentially motivate them to quit smoking. Despite the potential value of chiropractors in conducting tobacco interventions, we are often underutilized and inadequately trained in these techniques (Rose KA, 2017). Thus, including alternative practitioners in tobacco cessation efforts can be beneficial (Eaves ER, 2017).
We are in complete agreement with the government's endorsement of the WHO's recommendations to achieve a smoking prevalence target of 7.8% by 2025 and aim for further reduction in the long term. The strategies outlined in the consultation document are in alignment with these objectives.
However, to fully harness the potential of the chiropractic community in tobacco control, we suggest putting more emphasis on the strategy to 'Enhance Education, Support Cessation.' Chiropractors can contribute by educating patients on the health risks of smoking during consultations and providing referrals to cessation support services as needed. We recommend the introduction of training programs for chiropractors on conducting effective tobacco interventions.