There is no downside to quitting tobacco, and the benefits are priceless. Consider giving yourself the gift of becoming tobacco-free this holiday season.
The Alabama Department of Public Health offers free assistance to stop tobacco use through the Tobacco Quitline. The Quitline helps callers develop an individualized quit plan, offers coaching, and provides up to eight weeks of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) patches if the user is medically eligible and enrolled in the coaching program. All services at the Quitline – 1-800-QUIT-NOW – are free to Alabama residents.
Within 20 minutes of quitting, heart rate and blood pressure drop. By the end of three months, circulation improves and lung function increases, according to the American Cancer Society. With a pack of cigarettes costing $5 or more, quitting means more money to spend for other things.
Quitline services are available every day from 6 a.m. to midnight, with calls placed after hours or on holidays returned the next business day. The Quitline schedules phone coaching sessions at the caller’s convenience, according to Quitline Manager Julie Hare. Online services are available at QuitNowAlabama.com.
If the caller is eligible for NRT, it is mailed directly to the caller’s home. Medicaid callers will be referred to Medicaid for their cessation medications. “Because Medicaid pays for any of the seven FDA-approved cessation medications, we require Medicaid recipients to get their medications through Medicaid’s program. We can, however, help their doctor with the authorization process,” she said.
All callers enrolled in the program will be asked to set a quit date within 30 days and work with a coach to make a plan. Studies show the combination of coaching and medication doubles the chances of being successful, Hare said.
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. In Alabama, some 8,600 people die annually from tobacco use. Almost one-third of cancer deaths in Alabama are attributable to smoking, according to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.
According to the 2016 Adult Tobacco Survey, more than 60 percent of Alabamians who smoke said they tried to quit at least once during the past year. It can take multiple attempts for a person to quit, Hare said. For more information on quitting, contact the Quitline at 1-800-784-8669.