Every year on 31st May the WHO tries to draw attention globally to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable disease and death it causes. The call this year is for all countries to implement plain packaging of tobacco products. Australia was able to lead the way, with full implementation of the World's first plain packaging laws in December 2012.

In Australia, each year it is estimated that smoking kills 15, 000 people and costs $31.5 billion is health, social and economic costs. 

The majority of smokers want to quit and research demonstrates repeatedly that about 50% of smokers ill have tried to quit in the last year. Unfortunately, due to the cravings caused by withdrawal from the nicotine in tobacco, quitting is difficult: without help only 6% of quitters remain non-smokers a year later. A recent Cochrane review showed that behavioural and pharmacological support work best in combination, increasing the chances of quitting at 6 months by 83%, however most quitters use only pharmacological support ( if any)  particularly nicotine replacement when attempting to quit. 

Mobile phone and mobile broadband continues to grow and smoking cessation services internationally and locally are using mobile-delivered support in the form of Apps or simple text messages which can be initiated by the smoker without the need to see a professional person face-to-face. The Cochrane reviewers have assessed the mobile phone based support and found that the effect on quitting was similar to that achieved by standard methods, but more accessible, particularly to young and those living away from main centres.

The right help and support is needed to quit permanently. There are many free support and advice services available to help smokers preparing to quit and recent quitters to stay smoke free. The Quitnow website has further information, and a telephone information service on 13 78 48

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