Introduction: New smoke-free legislation implemented in Hong Kong on 1 January 2007, prohibited smoking in the vast majority of indoor workplaces and public places. Experiences of western countries indicated that the need for smoking cessation services would increase after enactment of the smoke-free legislation, but no systematic study of this issue has been undertaken in Southeast Asia. The present study aimed to examine the impact of smoke-free legislation in promoting smoking cessation through a local quitline. Methods: The present study reports the results of a telephone survey using interrupted time-series analysis. We operated a toll-free smoking cessation hotline (quitline) for the general public from August 2005 to September 2007. The present study measured the percent change in the number of telephone calls received and handled before and after the smoke-free legislation. Results: We evaluated the quitline for 9-month periods before (January-September 2006) and after (January-September 2007) the smoke-free legislation was implemented. The call rate in the initial period was 27.6 per month compared with 34.9 per month after enactment of the legislation, a 26% increase. Based on interrupted time-series models, the initial impact of the smoke-free legislation was to increase the number of telephone calls received and handled per week (p < 001), but the impact was temporal and deteriorated within 6 months. Discussion: Implementation of the new smoke-free legislation had a short-term effect in promoting the utilization of a smoking cessation quitline in Hong Kong. A systematic and long-term tobacco control campaign should be combined with smoke-free legislation to promote and sustain smokers' interests in smoking cessation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health