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Smokers quit after new smokefree law

Thursday 28 July 2005

Smokers quit after new smokefree law

Study published today in Tobacco Control

The law banning smoking in bars and restaurants has encouraged smokers to quit, according to a new study.

The research, just published in the international journal Tobacco Control, found that calls to the national Quitline increased by 44 percent after the new smokefree law came into force last December.

Lead researcher Dr Nick Wilson, from the University of Otago, says the study found that nearly 4000 people called the Quitline in December 2004 and January 2005 compared to about 2800 callers in the same two month period 12 months before.

Distribution of subsidised nicotine replacement therapy through the Quitline also nearly doubled after bars and restaurants went smokefree, Dr Wilson says.

"This research supports all the overseas evidence that smoking bans encourage smokers to quit."

He says the main aim of the new law is to prevent deaths and illness caused by second-hand smoke so the increased interest in quitting is an additional bonus.

The Quit Group's Research Manager Michele Grigg says the research is particularly interesting because there was very little advertising about the Quitline when the legislation came into force. However Ms Grigg believes the widespread media publicity about the new laws could have encouraged people to quit.

"We do get an increase in calls after news stories about smoking. Publicity about the links between smoking and blindness generated calls."

The same new issue of the journal Tobacco Control also published a study on the success of different mass media campaigns in getting Maori smokers to call the Quitline.

ENDS

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