Objectives In 2002, Taiwan launched a program to encourage doctors to provide brief cessation counseling to their patients during routine outpatient visits. This study is to compare and analyse the annual prevalence rate of receiving advice to quit smoking from health professionals before (2004) and after (2005, 2006) the increase in funding and the withdrawal of additional funding (2007). Methods We analysed pooled data from 2004 to 2007 Taiwan Adult Tobacco Survey, an annual random digit dialling telephone survey, to estimate the prevalence of receiving quit advice among ever smokers across these years. Smoking characteristics and the socioeconomic factors of smokers associated with receipt of advice to quit smoking were also examined. Results The prevalence rate of receiving quit advice increased from 21.1% in 2004 to 28.2% in 2006, and then decreased slightly to 27.6% in 2007 after the funds were cut. Multivariate analyses results indicated that increasing financing for smoking cessation services in 2005, being male, older, a daily cigarette user, having previously attempted to quit, perceiving oneself as having poor health and being aware of the benefits of smoking cessation services were significantly positively associated with receiving quit advice from health professionals. In contrast, smokers who were younger, female and occasional cigarette users were less likely to receive quit advice. Also, smokers with socioeconomic disadvantages were not less likely to receive quit advice. Conclusions During the period of increased funding for smoking cessation services, the rates of receiving quit advice increased among all smokers and across different socioeconomic groups.
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