Introduction: The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control recommends that provision of cessation support should be included in national tobacco control strategies. This study examines the impact of the United Kingdom's national smoking cessation strategy on quit attempts, use of treatment and short-term abstinence, relative to the United States, Canada, and Australia where less support is provided.
Methods: Data on quitting behavior and use of support were obtained for all smokers enrolled in the International Tobacco Control 4 Country Survey between 2002 and 2005. Generalized estimating equations were used to calculate the relative odds (adjusted by age, sex, and Heaviness of Smoking Index) that smokers in each country made quit attempts, used behavioral or pharmacological support, and to compare rates of short-term (28 days) abstinence between countries and users of different forms of support.
Results: U.K. smokers were less likely to have attempted to quit smoking than those in Australia (odds ratio [OR] = 1.25, 95% CI: 1.12-1.40), Canada (OR = 1.50, 95% CI: 1.34-1.67), and the United States (OR = 1.25, 95% CI: 1.11-1.40) but were more likely to use pharmacotherapy and/or support from a clinic, helpline, or health professional when attempting to quit than smokers in the other countries. U.K. smokers making quit attempts were significantly more likely to achieve 28-day abstinence than those in Australia (OR = 0.59, 95% CI: 0.49-0.71), Canada (OR = 0.72, 95% CI: 0.61-0.87), and the United States (OR = 0.51, 95% CI: 0.42-0.62).
Conclusions: U.K. smokers report fewer quit attempts but are more likely to use support when quitting and to achieve short-term abstinence.