Viber Joins WHO in its Fight Against Smoking

It’s time to quit smoking! We are all well aware that smoking poses a danger to everyone, whether it is first or second hand, yet millions of people smoke, with new people starting every day. This year, we are excited to team up with one of our longest-standing partners, the World Health Organization (WHO), in the fight against smoking and tobacco addiction.

This cause is important on a global level, but also on a personal one to Viber’s CEO, Djamel Agaoua, who was himself a smoker for many years:

“I smoked for 15 years of my life, and quitting was quite a challenge. Knowing that the World Health Organization is helping fight this terrible habit through Viber feels like a full-circle moment for me as I can now be part of the solution for millions of people.”

WHO’s collaboration with Viber

WHO’s initiative, called “Commit to Quit,” aims to reach 100 million people to help them quit smoking. For this, they’ve launched the WHO Quit Challenge chatbot on Viber. The chatbot is available both in English and Russian.

The chatbot educates subscribers on the triggers that start the habit and the risks that come with smoking – with a particular focus on the dangers that COVID-19 poses to regular smokers. It also helps smokers commit to quitting with a “quit kit,” including a timeline, motivating messages, tips, and resources to help along the quitting journey.

The WHO Quit Challenge chatbot isn’t only for smokers; non-smokers can also join, learn, and educate people around them about the risks of smoking and the benefits of quitting.

The risks of smoking

Dr. Vinayak Prasad, Head of the No Tobacco Unit, WHO, explains why it is so important to quit smoking:

“Tobacco causes 8 million preventable deaths every year from cancers, heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory disease, not to mention that smokers are at a 40-50% higher risk of developing severe illnesses and death from COVID-19.”

It’s important to remember that smoking doesn’t only put the smokers themselves at risk. Second-hand smoking is just as dangerous and deadly to those around you, especially loved ones.

Even with all of the information in the world, the fact remains that quitting is incredibly difficult for most. Dr. Prasad explains how this collaboration can help in the fight: “With Viber’s support and wide-reaching audience, we will be able to help many more tobacco users quit for good and lead a longer, healthier life.”

WHO and Viber for a better future

The Commit to Quit challenge is not the first collaboration between Viber and WHO. Petya Kamburova, Business Development Manager, describes the first collaboration: “We teamed up with WHO for the first time in 2020 when we launched a project to fight COVID-19 misinformation just two weeks after the pandemic began.”

The project included a chatbot available in 23 languages that reached a massive audience of 300 million people worldwide! Therefore, “it was only natural to team up with the WHO again this year, to bring another health issue to light and hopefully, change unhealthy habits to more positive ones.”

Quit today by joining the WHO Quit Challenge on Viber here, and prepare for a healthier and longer life!