Provision of tobacco cessation support: A comparative study of five different WHO European Region countries
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Department of Healthcare, Faculty of Public Health, University of Vlora, Vlora, Albania
Clinic of Social and Family Medicine, Medical School, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece
Laboratory of Toxicology, School of Medicine, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece
Department of Community Mental Health, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
Department of Life Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health, University of Vlora, Vlora, Albania
Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, Hellenic Mediterranean University, Heraklion, Greece
Publication date: 2021-12-10
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2021;7(Supplement):39
The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) was adopted in 2003 and since then almost all countries worldwide have signed and ratified it. Despite this, the level of implementation of the WHO-FCTC differs between regions and countries. In order to have successful tobacco control policies, offering help to quit is of paramount significance. This study aimed to compare and analyze tobacco cessation support measures in five different WHO European Region countries.

Data were received from the 2019 WHO reports on the Global Tobacco Epidemic of the European Region countries. Five WHO European Region countries (Albania, Austria, Israel, Greece, and Sweden) were selected for the analysis. Countries were selected based on their geographical location. Three of them are part of the European Union. Additionally, four are high income while Albania is considered a middle-income country.

Sweden records the best performance on the provision of tobacco cessation services while Albania, the worst. Among the selected countries, only Sweden had fully implemented the EMPOWER policy measures for cessation support programs, while all the other countries recorded a moderate level of implementation. Austria, Israel, and Sweden have a toll-free telephone quit line/help line with a person available to discuss cessation with callers live. NRTs are legally sold in all countries except Albania. However, Sweden was the only country where NRTs are partially covered by national/federal health insurance or the national health service. Bupropion and varenicline are not available in Albania while only in Israel and Sweden the cost is partially covered by health insurance/national services. Smoking cessation support differs between countries as well as differences exist in cost coverage.

Progress has been made in the implementation of tobacco cessation policies in different countries but there is still room for improvements. The provision of a comprehensive tobacco cessation support should include both pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches. The cost of these services should be covered by the health insurances and/or the national health systems. Albania should intensify the efforts in improving the level of implementation of cessation policies in comparison to the other countries.

No Conflicts of Interest were reported.
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