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IDPH offers free nicotine replacement

During the entire month of June, Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is offering four weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in the form of patches and gum to Iowa smokers who choose to make a quit attempt using Quitline Iowa. Quitline Iowa offers tobacco cessation coaching services over the telephone or the Internet, 24 hours a day.

“Data suggests the majority of smokers want to quit. We are excited to offer them extra support to increase the likelihood they quit successfully,” said IDPH Director Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks. “Smart, efficient budgeting is allowing us to provide this support for the first time in years. Historically, Quitline Iowa has experienced large increases in call volume when free NRT is provided.”

Research has shown that quitting smoking at any age offers health benefits.

Quitline Iowa focuses on the individual, with the realization everyone is unique and their quit plan should be, too. Research shows phone coaching is twice as effective as smokers trying to quit on their own.

While Internet-based coaching is too new to thoroughly evaluate, IDPH Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Division Director Meghan O’Brien said the preliminary data is promising.

“It is important to arm tobacco users who want to quit with all the tools we can, including Web options for those who may be uncomfortable with telephone coaching,” she said. “Preliminary data shows Web-based coaching is attracting young smokers who want to quit. Most smokers make multiple quit attempts before successfully breaking their addiction to nicotine, so the younger they decide to quit using tobacco, the better.”

Current Iowa healthcare costs associated with tobacco exceed $1 billion. For more information about Quitline Iowa, visit www.quitlineiowa.org or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

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