Health and Family Services Cabinet
Governor Announces New Kentucky Quit Line to Help Smokers Kick the Habit
FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 6, 2005) Governor Ernie Fletcher announced today that Kentucky smokers will now have one more tool to help them quit smoking. The new 1-800-QUIT NOW quit line will provide smokers with cessation information and one-on-one counseling tailored to their level of readiness to quit.
“We all know that smoking and the use of other tobacco products greatly impact Kentucky’s health status,” said Governor Fletcher. “Although we are seeing a drop in the number of people smoking, tobacco use is still one of the biggest health issues facing us. The quit line is a new resource to support smokers in the Commonwealth who want to make a healthy change and give up smoking.”
Governor Fletcher also announced that data collected by the Department for Public Health (DPH) in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) shows that the adult smoking rate in Kentucky dropped 10.5 percent from 2003 to 2004. This brings Kentucky’s adult smoking rate to 27.5 percent, still the highest in the nation. Research indicates that 70 percent of smokers want to quit.
1-800-QUIT NOW is a statewide telephone service that will provide brief intervention and support for people who want to stop smoking or using other tobacco products. Callers, both smokers and nonsmokers, can receive information about tobacco dependence and treatment options. Tobacco cessation counselors will staff phone lines Monday through Friday, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded the quit line through a grant to DPH.
“If we truly want to change the health status of Kentucky for the better, we must reduce the number of Kentuckians who smoke,” said CHFS Secretary James Holsinger, M.D. “The prevalence of smoking in Kentucky doesn’t affect only smokers. It’s a Kentucky problem and it is our hope every Kentucky smoker who wants to quit will call this number for help.”
The quit line offers a one-on-one proactive counseling program for tobacco users who are ready to quit. After the initial call, smokers may receive up to five scheduled call backs from their counselor. For smokers considering quitting, the quit line staff will provide information about tobacco use and treatment options. Counselors will provide state and local resources to callers as another option for tobacco cessation. Parental consent is required for callers under 18.
In addition to being a resource for smokers, family and friends of smokers may also call the quit line and receive information to encourage a tobacco user to quit, how best to support a tobacco user’s quit attempt, the dangers of secondhand smoke, and other tobacco cessation information. Information is also available to physicians concerning the most up-to date intervention methods to help patients with tobacco use addictions.
1-800-QUIT NOW is available in English and Spanish. TDD is available for the deaf and hard of hearing. Counseling and materials are provided at no charge to callers.
Quit lines are one aspect of comprehensive tobacco cessation services. Scientific reviews have established that proactive telephone counseling through quit lines is an effective cessation method. Master's-level counselors undergo extensive classroom and practical experience.
Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. Nearly 4,000 Kentuckians die prematurely each year of tobacco use. Smoking is a major risk factor for the four leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Kentucky’s local health departments also offer tobacco cessation support in communities across the state.
For more information about the quit line, contact RaeAnne Davis at RaeAnne.Davis@ky.gov or (502) 564-7996, ext. 3858.