Impact on the Australian Quitline of new graphic cigarette pack warnings including the Quitline number

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Abstract

Background:

In March 2006, Australia introduced graphic pictorial warnings on cigarette packets. For the first time, packs include the Quitline number.

Objective:

To measure the combined effect of graphic cigarette pack warnings and printing the Quitline number on packs on calls to the Australian Quitline service.

Methods:

Calls to the Australian Quitline were monitored over 4 years, 2 years before and after the new packets were introduced.

Results:

There were twice as many calls to the Quitline in 2006 (the year of introduction), as there were in each of the preceding 2 years. The observed increase in calls exceeds that explained by the accompanying television advertising alone. While call volume tapered back in 2007, it remained at a level higher than before the introduction of new packets. No change was observed in the proportion of first time callers.

Conclusion:

Introducing graphic cigarette packet warnings and the Quitline number on cigarette packets boosts demand for Quitline services, with likely flow on effects to cessation.

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