The history of smoking cessation support in Hungary
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National Korányi Institute of Pulmonology, Budapest, Hungary
Publication date: 2023-10-08
Corresponding author
Zsuzsa Cselkó   

National Korányi Institute of Pulmonology, Budapest, Hungary
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2023;9(Supplement 2):A21
Tobacco use remains the greatest preventable cause of death in Hungary, with a smoking-related death rate (2019: 360/100 000 age-standardized death rate) among the highest in the WHO European Region. Despite WHO FCTC-defined tobacco control measures in place, smoking prevalence is high (2019: 27%) and has not decreased since 2014.

This study attempts to summarize the progress of smoking cessation support in Hungary aiming to identify strengths and areas for improvement to lessen the toll caused by smoking.

A literature search was conducted using the Hungarian Digital Archives Database. After 2012, the data has been derived from the National Methodology Center for Cessation Support (Center) reports.

The National Korányi Institute of Pulmonology (NKIP) established the first organized network of cessation counseling services in 1987 at outpatient pulmonary clinics (OPCs) sponsored by a State Insurance tender. By 1999, individual behavior counseling with medication was accessible at 130 healthcare providers thanks to pharmaceutical company support. Since 2005, the National Health Insurance Fund has supported, albeit at a low value, behavior counseling at OPCs. The Center at NKIP was established in 2012 and entrusted with the following: education of healthcare workers in cessation support (2430 persons between 2012-2023), operation of the national quitline (on average 1000 persons counseled per year), formulation of relevant guidelines, and coordination of cessation support programs. Having recognized that OPCs are overburdened by the organizational tasks of cessation support and funding was intermittent, from 2020 counseling service has steadily transferred to the existing network of health promotion offices, although without specific funding for cessation programs and communication.

To achieve tobacco control advances, adequate and regular funding for established counseling services and nicotine withdrawal treatment is essential. Furthermore, the role of healthcare professionals in reducing the tobacco epidemic toll is outstanding, therefore individual responsibilities should be recognized.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
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