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Aboriginal users of Canadian quitlines: an exploratory analysis
  1. Lynda M Hayward1,
  2. H Sharon Campbell1,
  3. Carol Sutherland-Brown2
  1. 1
    Centre for Behavioural Research and Program Evaluation, Lyle S Hallman Institute, Room 1717A, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON, Canada, N2L 3G1
  2. 2
    Office of the Minister of Health, Health Canada, 16th Floor Brooke Claxton Building, Address locator 0916A, Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1A 0K9
  1. Dr Lynda Hayward, Centre for Behavioural Research and Program Evaluation, Lyle S Hallman Institute, Room 1717A, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, N2L 3G1; lhayward{at}


Objectives: To conduct an exploratory, comparative study of the utilisation and effectiveness of tobacco cessation quitlines among aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadian smokers.

Setting: Population based quitlines that provide free cessation information, advice and counselling to Canadian smokers.

Subjects: First time quitline callers, age 18 years of age and over, who called the quitline between August 2001 and December 2005 and who completed the evaluation and provided data on their ethnic status (n = 7082).

Main measures: Demographic characteristics and tobacco behaviours of participants at intake and follow-up; reasons for calling; actions taken toward quitting, and 6-month follow-up quit rates.

Results: 7% of evaluation participants in the time period reported aboriginal origins. Aboriginal participants were younger than non-aboriginals but had similar smoking status and level of addiction at intake. Concern about future health and current health problems were the most common reasons aboriginal participants called. Six months after intake aboriginals and non-aboriginals had taken similar actions with 57% making a 24-hour quit attempt. Quit rates were higher for aboriginals than non-aboriginals, particularly for men. The 6-month prolonged abstinence rate for aboriginal men was 16.7% compared with 7.2% for aboriginal women and 9.4% and 8.3% for non-aboriginal men and women, respectively.

Conclusions: This exploratory analysis showed that even without targeted promotion, aboriginal smokers do call Canadian quitlines, primarily for health related reasons. We also showed that the quitlines are effective at helping them to quit. As a population focused intervention, quitlines can reach a large proportion of smokers in a cost efficient manner. In aboriginal communities where smoking rates exceed 50% and multiple health risks and chronic diseases already exist, eliminating non-ceremonial tobacco use must be a priority. Our results, although exploratory, suggest quitlines can be an effective addition to aboriginal tobacco cessation strategies.

  • smoking cessation
  • quitlines
  • aboriginal

Statistics from


  • Abbreviations:
    Centre for Behavioural Research and Program Evaluation
    heaviness of smoking index

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