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Association between tobacco plain packaging and Quitline calls: a population-based, interrupted time-series analysis

Internationally, Australia is a leader in tobacco control policies that reduce community exposure to tobacco-related harm. In December 2012, Australia became the first country in the world to enact legislation mandating plain packaging for all tobacco products.1 The Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 (Cwlth) is designed to prevent tobacco industry promotion by simultaneously reducing pack attractiveness and increasing the size of graphic health warnings. The legislation required manufacturers to produce plain packs with new warnings from 1 October 2012. From 1 December 2012, plain packaging became compulsory for all tobacco products. The new plain packs are olive green and devoid of brand design. Telephone numbers for the national smoking cessation helpline, Quitline, feature prominently on the packs.

Plain packaging legislation exists to encourage smokers to quit and discourage the uptake of smoking.1 Quitline is a free resource that can be used by smokers who are motivated and seeking support to quit. Therefore, the volume of calls to cessation helplines has frequently been used as one indicator of changes in interest in quitting in response to population-wide cessation policies and programs.2