Du launches no-smoking text service – for a price

Subscribers must pay $15 receive texts from QuitSmoke programme.
Du launches no-smoking text service – for a price
QUIT SMOKE: Despite high profile global and local campaigns, statistics showed that the take up of nicotine treatments to help smokers quit has been sluggish in the UAE (Getty Images)
By Neeraj Gangal
Sun 06 Mar 2011 05:31 PM

Mobile
phone giant  as du has launched QuitSmoke, an SMS text messages offering
smokers “tips that motivate and prompt them to perform day to day actions that
will help them quit smoking.”

However,
any du subscriber that takes up the offer will be charged AED1 per day for the
daily text, amounting to AED56 ($15.24) for the eight week programme.

“People
in general are becoming increasingly conscious of health and wellness,” said
Farid Faraidooni, chief commercial officer at du.

“As
a telecom service provider we can leverage our network… in order to promote
healthy living. We have plans to further enlarge the scope of such health
initiatives, which we will announce in due course,” he added.

Smoking
is a major healthcare issue in the region and statistics released last summer
as part of the UAE’s anti-smoking campaign found that the rate of consumption
of tobacco products is increasing amongst women and at least fourteen percent
of all smokers in the UAE are women.

While
around a fifth of men smoke in the UAE, this figure rises to 42 percent among
17 year old males.

Despite
high profile global and local campaigns, statistics showed that the take up of
nicotine treatments to help smokers quit has been sluggish in the UAE.

A
report by Euromonitor International released last year showed that sales of
nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) – like patches, gum and lozenges –
increased in value share by just nine percent in 2009.

The
QuitSmoke option is part of du’s new Health Text service and comes as the
government-owned telecoms provider posted a full-year profit of AED1.31bn
($357m) for 2010 and royalty fees paid surged 43 percent to AED264m ($71m).

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