Victorian current and former smokers’ quitting activity, and the impact of cessation aids, services and anti-smoking campaigns

Brennan E, Durkin S, Wakefield M, Dunlop S 

CBRC Research Paper Series No. 29

Between 1998 and 2005, the proportion of regular smokers who had made at least one quit attempt in their lifetime increased from 76% to 81%. Among those who had attempted to quit, there was also an increase in the number of smokers who had made multiple quit attempts, from 36% of regular smokers in 1998 to 43% in 2005.

Of those smokers who had attempted to quit in the five years preceding the 2005 survey, 69.5% were unsuccessful in their attempt and 30.5% successfully quit smoking. Around two-thirds of both unsuccessful and successful quitters believed that at least one quitting aid or service contributed to their quit attempt.

Anti-smoking television commercials were widely perceived as having contributed to the quit attempts of both unsuccessful (37%) and successful quitters (46%); NRT or other medications contributed to 29% of quit attempts; advice from health professionals contributed to 19%; and self-help materials contributed to 12%. When accounting for the quantity and pattern of audience exposure to each different anti-smoking commercial over the past two years, "Sponge" was the strongest performing commercial among those who believed an anti-smoking commercial contributed to their quit attempt. The National Tobacco Campaign's series of health effects ads, and Quit Victoria's "Parents" commercial also performed well.

Overall, these results provide strong support for a continued multifaceted approach to tobacco control in Victoria, with a strong focus on airing emotive anti-smoking commercials that alert smokers to the negative consequences of smoking.