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The Impact on Quitlines When Graphic Warning Labels Include a Quitline Number: AU and NZ CS

Wednesday, January 16, 2013  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov

The Impact on Quitlines When Graphic Warning Labels Include a Quitline Number
Lessons from Australia and New Zealand

As of August 2012, 56 countries in the Americas, Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions require pictures or images on cigarette packs (some of these are still being implemented).1 Graphic Warning Labels (GWLs) on tobacco packaging in countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand include concrete information on ways to quit such as quitline numbers and website addresses and their experiences to-date indicate that including cessation resources on the label are an effective way to encourage tobacco users to quit. In fact, approximately 20 nations currently require a quitline number on their tobacco package labeling, including Finland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Iceland, Malta, the U.K., France, Sweden, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Belgium, South Africa, Brazil, Singapore, Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand and Norway.2

While the evidence on the impact of GWLs is clear and the evidence for the effectiveness of the inclusion of a quitline number on warning labels growing, less is known about the impact of GWLs on quitline operations when labels first begin to include a quitline number. What is the immediate impact on call volume when these labels are first announced and how are spikes in volume best addressed operationally? Does volume become increasingly steady over time? Do the types of callers to the quitline change as a result and hence, counseling protocols? In an attempt to answer these and other questions related to implementation and impact of GWLs that include a quitline number, the Global Quitline Network (GQN) has published two case studies that focus on four areas:

  • Preparing for implementation
  • Promoting the new warning labels
  • Impact on quitline service delivery and utilization
  • Evaluation of outcomes

Highlighting Australia and New Zealand, the purpose of the case studies is to describe implementation of warning labels that include a quitline number within a real-world quitline setting, noting the programmatic and operational issues that emerged and how they were addressed. GQN’s aim is to provide quitline service providers and quitline funders with valuable information to support successful preparation and implementation.

We invite you to read more about the experiences of Australia and New Zealand and should you have any questions, please contact Tamatha Thomas-Haase at

1Riordan M. Tobacco Warning Labels: Evidence of Effectiveness. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, August 28, 2012. Accessed online at on October 25, 2012.
2 Li J, Grigg M. New Zealand: new graphic warnings encourage registrations with the quitline. Tobacco Control. 2009 Feb;18(1):72.

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