Overview of smoking cessation services in Korea
As one of its major efforts toward reducing cigarette smoking, the Korean government has implemented nationwide smoking cessation programs funded by cigarette taxes. A web-based smoking cessation service (WSCS), public health center (PHC)-based smoking cessation clinics (SCCs), and a telephone-based cessation service (Quitline) have been established in 2002, 2004, and 2006, respectively. These programs, which are grounded in the trans-theoretical model, have tailored protocols for adult men and women and adolescents, and they are open to all smokers for voluntary participation.
The WSCS offers a stand-alone program with 30 steps lasting 6 months that involves an interactive tool structured to respond to user smoking behaviors, needs for services, and completeness of stepwise counseling on the web. Users can get additional information or advice from experts by telephone or email.
SCCs offer both face-to-face counseling and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) for 6 months after registration in the program. At least three face-to-face counseling sessions are required for registered users, and several additional telephone-based counseling sessions are offered during the program. This program is unique in its use of convenient community public health centers that are easily accessible to a large fraction of the Korean population, including those in rural areas. Around 700 trained coaches have worked to deliver cessation services at 250 PHC-based SCCs.
For registered users in Quitline, where 13 coaches have worked, a dedicated coach provides at least 21 protocol-based telephone counseling sessions for 1 year. Additionally, quit guide booklets are provided and periodic text messages are sent to users’ mobile phones, even if NRT and other types of pharmacotherapy are not available.
A secondary data from the result of each cessation service operation were used. An estimated 14,762, 335,532, and 2983 adult smokers aged more than 19 years who were registered users of a WSCS, PHC-SCCs, and Quitline, respectively, in 2009, when there was no distinct promotion of each cessation service, were included for a cross-comparison of user characteristics. A total of 3762 smokers among the 23,480 participants in the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES IV, 2007–2009) were included as a reference for the general characteristics of smokers in Korea. KNHANES is the national health survey has been done annually by Korean Center for Disease Control and could represent Korean population with the stratified multistage probability sampling method based on geographical area and housing type. It includes information on health behaviors, health examination results, food consumption, some of major disease prevalence, and etc. 
Data and statistical analysis
From the basic user information collected to develop tailored counseling, common items were drawn for cross-comparison. Sex, age (19–29, 30–39, 40–49, and ≥ 50 years), area of residence (metropolitan, city/country, and overseas), average number of cigarettes smoked per day (≤10, 11–20, and ≥ 21), and nicotine dependency (based on the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence: < 3, mild; 4–6, moderate; and 7–10, severe)  data were available for all three types of services. Information on occupation (professionals and experts, office workers, service workers, manufacturing and production workers, farming and fishing workers, small business owners, military and police, and others) was not available for WSCS participants. Comparable information, except for nicotine dependency, was available for smokers in the general population, represented by the data from KNHANES IV. The frequency distribution of these basic characteristics among smokers in the general population and users of each cessation service was presented and compared.
Various characteristics of users are presented by frequency distribution. The statistical significance test of each variable was guaranteed by chi-square test. The statistical tests were conducted using SAS (SAS Institute, Inc., Cary, North Carolina, USA), version 9.4 and p < .05 was considered statistically significant.