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Rhode Island Department of Health Launches New Quitline for Smokers

On March 1, the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) will launch an improved quitline service for smokers. 1-800-Quit-Now is a national quitline system that refers callers to free resources in their local communities. The program currently helps 45 million Americans who use tobacco.

With 1-800-Quit-Now, smokers in Rhode Island, as well as family and friends seeking to support them, have a new ally in their struggle to end their dependence on tobacco. The toll-free quitline will serve as a single point of access to individualized guidance from qualified cessation specialists. Callers will also have access to support services such as counseling and nicotine replacement therapy.

“Giving up tobacco is hard to do, but every day, people are taking the first step to better health by calling a quitline,” said Interim Director of Health Michael Fine, M.D. “Quitlines are proven to be effective in helping smokers quit and remain tobacco-free. 1-800-Quit-Now has been successful in other states, and we look forward to similar outcomes in Rhode Island.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 70 percent of current smokers want to quit, but less than five percent are actually successful in quitting on their own. Studies show that “quit success” increases with an effective, proven tobacco treatment protocol. Cigarette smoking and tobacco use are the leading causes of preventable death and disease in the United States. In Rhode Island, tobacco use accounts for more than 1,700 deaths each year.

1-800-Quit-Now was developed by the National Network of Tobacco Cessation Quitlines, CDC, National American Quitline Consortium, and the National Cancer Institute.

Also on March 1 is the Rhode Island Tobacco Cessation Summit. The Summit brings together Rhode Island community leaders, elected officials, government agencies, academics, and business leaders to develop a plan to coordinate statewide tobacco treatment efforts. Dr. Howard Koh, United States Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services, will deliver the keynote address.

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