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Impact on the Australian Quitline of new graphic cigarette pack warnings including the Quitline number
  1. Caroline L Miller1,
  2. David J Hill2,
  3. Pascale G Quester3,
  4. Janet E Hiller3
  1. 1 Cancer Council SA, Australia;
  2. 2 Cancer Council Victoria, Australia;
  3. 3 University of Adelaide, Australia
  1. E-mail: cmiller{at}cancersa.org.au

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, two 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 two years. The observed increase in calls exceeds that which is explained by the accompanying television advertising alone. While call volume tapered back in 2007, it remained 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.

What this paper adds: Many countries are moving to introduce graphic cigarette packet warnings; some with a Quitline or helpline number. However, the impact on calls to the Quitline of graphic (in contrast to text-only) warnings with accompanying Quitline number has not yet been quantified. This study shows that even in a ‘mature’ tobacco control environment like Australia, such an intervention has considerable positive impact on demand for a Quitline, with positive implications for quitting.

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