Smoking cessation assistance should be free, accessible, and part of routine care

Sally Plever and Coral E Gartner
Med J Aust 2022; 216 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.51468
Published online: 18 April 2022

Proactively offering Quitline counselling and nicotine replacement therapy can reduce the prevalence of smoking

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has identified tobacco smoking as the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Australia, and 11% of people over 14 years of age reported smoking daily in 2019.1 Public health measures, such as public smoking bans, anti‐smoking media campaigns, and high tobacco taxes, have encouraged people to stop smoking, but most quit attempts are unsuccessful. The most effective approach to smoking cessation is a combination of pharmacological and behavioural support, such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) with Quitline telephone counselling.2 Quitlines are an evidence‐based, readily accessible, and cost‐effective public health intervention.3 However, fewer than 2% of Australians who smoke used a Quitline service during 2019.1

  • Sally Plever1,2
  • Coral E Gartner2

  • 1 Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Brisbane, QLD
  • 2 NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence on Achieving the Tobacco Endgame, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD



Coral Gartner holds a National Health and Medical Research Council research grant (GNT1198301).

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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