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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2009 Mar;6(3):900-14. doi: 10.3390/ijerph6030900. Epub 2009 Feb 26.

A helpline telephone service for tobacco related issues: the Italian experience.

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  • 1Therapeutic Research and Medicines Evaluation Department, Italian Epidemiological Observatory on Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs of Abuse, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Rome, Italy. enrica.pizzi@iss.it


Antismoking helplines have become an integral part of tobacco control efforts in many countries, including Italy. The demonstrated efficacy and the convenience of telephone based counselling have led to the fast adoption of antismoking helplines. However, information on how these helplines operate in actual practice is not often readily available. This paper provides an overview of the Italian Antismoking Helpline, an increasingly popular telephone service for tobacco problems operating in Italy since 2000. As many states, regions and nations are contemplating various telephone programs as part of large scale anti-tobacco campaigns, this paper briefly discusses the reasons the helpline is well suited to lead the cessation component of a comprehensive tobacco control program, how it operates and how it can be used in conjunction with other tobacco control activities. The Italian Antismoking Helpline provides Italians with free services that include counselling, cessation related information, self help quit kits and current legislation information. The helpline is promoted statewide by media campaigns, health care providers, local tobacco control programs and public school system. The Helpline is centrally operated through the Istituto Superiore di Sanità and it has served over 17.000 tobacco users and others.


Italian Antismoking Helpline; counselling; tobacco smoking

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