How legislative tobacco control measures increase the number of those who are seeking help in quitting smoking: Example of Polish Quitline
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Maria Sklodowska-Curie National Research Institute of Oncology, Warsaw, Poland
Publication date: 2022-07-05
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2022;8(Supplement):A100
The Polish national Quitline was established in 1996 as one of the first Quitlines in this part of Europe. It works according to international standards and offers reactive and proactive service to its clients as well as online tools. Since Poland is a member of the European Union, it has been obliged to introduce tobacco products directives (TPD).

To assess the impact of implementing legislative measures, i.e. new health warnings and pictorial health warnings on number of those who call the Quitline.

The call volume has been compared to assess the impact of health warnings. We took into account implementation of TPD 2001/37/ EC (new health warnings) and TPD 2014/40/UE (pictorial health warnings). The Quitline number appeared on cigarettes packages – on every 14 pack in 2004 and on each in May 2016.

We observed a significant increase in number of calls to Quitline just after the implementation of new legislative measures. In 2004, with the new health warnings, the increase was over 1600% – in 2003 there were 628 calls, and in 2005 more than 10000 calls. The biggest increase appeared just before the placing of the Quitline number on cigarette packs, i.e. in October (355 calls), in November and December more than 1000 call per month have been recorded. This increase continued for the next 7 months until July 2005. Another peak was observed after the pictorial health warnings, with an increase of almost 100%. In 2016, we recorded almost 5000 reactive calls and in 2017 almost 10000 reactive calls.

The new health warnings and pictorial health warnings had a significant impact on the number of those who sought help to quit smoking. Placing the Quitline number on cigarettes packs is an effective and cost-effective way to increase the number of calls to Quitline. However, the interest is stabilizing and even going down after some time, so new motivation tools should be implemented regularly.