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February 11th, 2009:

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

Copyright © 2009 by the BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.


C L Miller1,2, D J Hill3, P G Quester4 and J E Hiller2

1 The Cancer Council South Australia, Eastwood, South Australia, Australia
2 Discipline of Public Health, School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, University of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
3 The Cancer Council Victoria, Victoria, Australia
4 Business School, University of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Correspondence to:
C Miller, The Cancer Council South Australia, PO Box 929, UNLEY BC SA 5061, Australia;

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