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Studies of 20,000 smokers show quit rates double with counseling and free nicotine patches
Date:11/29/2007

November 29, 2007 (Portland, Ore.) Increasing the level of Quitline smoking cessation services and offering free nicotine patches are a successful and cost-effective way to reduce smoking rates, according to two new studies in the December issue of Tobacco Control, a peer-reviewed publication of the British Medical Journal. Both studies were conducted by researchers at Kaiser Permanentes Center for Health Research in Portland, the Oregon Health Department, and Free & Clear in Seattle, a phone-based tobacco treatment program.

One study found that the number of callers to the Oregon Tobacco Quitline jumped from 6,426 to 13,646 annually, and their quit rates nearly doubled, when Oregon became the first state in the country to promote Quitline services by combining one 30-minute telephone counseling session with a free two-week supply of Nicotine Replacement Therapy using earned or unpaid media to increase calls from smokers.

Prior to this initiative, the Oregon Tobacco Quitline provided one 30-minute telephone counseling session with no NRT and promoted the service through paid advertising. Analysis of the one-year results showed that the free NRT initiative was extremely successful even though its total costs were higher than the costs of the pre-initiative program ($2.25 million versus $1.97 million) because:

  • the number of callers nearly doubled (from 6,428 to 13,646).
  • quit rate nearly doubled (from 8.2 percent to 15.7 percent).
  • number of quitters quadrupled (from 527 to 2142).
  • cost per quit fell more than $2,600 (from $3,778 to $1,050).

Cigarette smoking is the number one preventable cause of death and disease in this country, with more than 430,000 Americans dying from cigarette smoking every year. This study shows that offering free nicotine replacement therapy as part of Quitline counseling can dramatically increase the number of smokers who quit and reduce the average cost per quit, said
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Contact: Danielle Cass
danielle.x.cass@kp.org
510-267-5354
Kaiser Permanente Division of Research
Source:Eurekalert

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