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Can J Public Health. 2004 May-Jun;95(3):201-4.

The impact of cigarette warning labels and smoke-free bylaws on smoking cessation: evidence from former smokers.

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University of Waterloo, Department of Health Studies, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1.



To effectively address the health burden of tobacco use, tobacco control programs must find ways of motivating smokers to quit. The present study examined the extent to which former smokers' motivation to quit was influenced by two tobacco control policies recently introduced in the Waterloo Region: a local smoke-free bylaw and graphic cigarette warning labels.


A random digit-dial telephone survey was conducted with 191 former smokers in southwestern Ontario, Canada in October 2001. Former smokers who had quit in the previous three years rated the factors that influenced their decision to quit and helped them to remain abstinent.


Thirty-six percent of former smokers cited smoke-free policies as a motivation to quit smoking. Former smokers who quit following the introduction of a total smoke-free bylaw were 3.06 (CI95 = 1.02-9.19) times more likely to cite smoking bylaws as a motivation to quit, compared to former smokers who quit prior to the bylaw. A total of 31% participants also reported that cigarette warning labels had motivated them to quit. Former smokers who quit following the introduction of the new graphic warning labels were 2.78 (CI9 = 1.20-5.94) times more likely to cite the warnings as a quitting influence than former smokers who quit prior to their introduction. Finally, 38% of all former smokers surveyed reported that smoke-free policies helped them remain abstinent and 27% reported that warning labels helped them do so.


More stringent smoke-free and labelling policies were associated with a greater impact upon motivations to quit.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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