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BMC Public Health. 2012; 12: 183.
Published online Mar 12, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1471-2458-12-183
PMCID: PMC3378462
Estimating the probabilities of making a smoking quit attempt in Italy: stall in smoking cessation levels, 1986-2009
Giulia Carreras,corresponding author#1 Silvano Gallus,#2 Laura Iannucci,#3 and Giuseppe Gorini#1
1Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology Unit, ISPO Cancer Prevention and Research Institute, Ponte Nuovo - via delle Oblate, 1-50141 Florence, Italy
2Department of Epidemiology, Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, Via La Masa, 19-20156 Milan, Italy
3Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), Via Ravà, 150-00142 Rome, Italy
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
#Contributed equally.
Giulia Carreras: g.carreras/at/ispo.toscana.it; Silvano Gallus: silvano.gallus/at/marionegri.it; Laura Iannucci: iannucci/at/istat.itl; Giuseppe Gorini: g.gorini/at/ispo.toscana.it
Received November 21, 2011; Accepted March 12, 2012.
Abstract
Background
No data on annual smoking cessation probability (i.e., the probability of successfully quit in a given year) are available for Italy at a population level. Mathematical models typically used to estimate smoking cessation probabilities do not account for smoking relapse. In this paper, we developed a mathematical model to estimate annual quitting probabilities, taking into account smoking relapse and time since cessation.
Methods
We developed a dynamic model describing the evolution of current, former, and never smokers. We estimated probabilities of smoking cessation by fitting the model with observed smoking prevalence in Italy, 1986-2009.
Results
Annual cessation probabilities were higher than 5% only in elderly persons and in women aged < 30 years, while in adults aged 30-49 and 50-59 cessations were about 2% and 3-5%, respectively. Most of quit probabilities stalled from 1986 to 2009.
Conclusions
Over the last 20 years, cessation probabilities among Italian smokers, particularly for those aged 30-59 years, have been very low and stalled. Quitting in Italy is considered as a practicable strategy only by women in the age of pregnancy and by elderly persons, when it’s likely that symptoms of tobacco-related diseases have already appeared. In order to increase cessation probabilities, smoking cessation treatment policies (introducing total reimbursement of cessation treatments, with a further development of quitlines and smoking cessation services) should be empowered and a country-wide mass media campaign targeting smokers aged 30-59 years and focusing on promotion of quitting should be implemented.
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