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Washington Tobacco Quit Line Receives 100,000th Call for Help
Date:11/14/2007

State a national leader in helping people quit tobacco

OLYMPIA, Wash., Nov. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Washington State Tobacco Quit Line recently received its 100,000th call for help since opening for business seven years ago. The state Department of Health toll-free quit line is a crucial piece of Washington's tobacco prevention and control efforts, which have contributed to a 24 percent drop in adult smoking since 2000.

"I am very pleased with the resounding success of the Tobacco Quit Line," said Governor Chris Gregoire. "We are one of the few states that use tobacco settlement money to help people quit using tobacco so they can live longer, healthier lives."

Washington used tobacco settlement money to launch a comprehensive Tobacco Prevention and Control Program in 2000. Since that time, the state adult smoking rate has dropped from 20th to the fifth lowest in the nation.

The quit line (1-800-QUIT-NOW, and in Spanish, 1-877-2NO-FUME) provides callers with free information, counseling, a personalized quit plan, a quit kit and referrals to local resources. The quit line also offers tailored services to help pregnant women quit smoking.

"Calling the Tobacco Quit Line is free and can double a person's chances of quitting," said Health Secretary Mary Selecky. "I urge anyone who smokes or chews tobacco to call the quit line and join thousands of others in kicking the habit for good." Secretary Selecky also noted that the Great American Smokeout this Thursday is a perfect time to quit.

There are now many more former smokers in Washington than there are current smokers. The estimated 235,000 fewer smokers in the state represents an overall savings of $2.1 billion in future health care costs.

"The quit line makes it very easy for people who use tobacco to get the help they need to quit," said Dr. Tim McAfee, Chief Medical Officer at Free & Clear, which administers the quit line for Washington and 14 other states. "Quitting smoking is hard, but the benefits are immense and immediate. When a person quits, their body experiences positive health effects within 20 minutes."

The Great American Smokeout on November 15 is sponsored by the American Cancer Society and takes place on the third Thursday of November every year. The event challenges people to start the quit process by joining thousands of other Americans in quitting for the day, and also raises awareness of effective quit resources.

While Washington has made significant headway in lowering smoking rates, there is still work to do. The tobacco industry spends more than $160 million each year in our state to hook smokers. About 45 youth start smoking each day and about 8,000 people in our state die every year from tobacco-related diseases.

Media materials (http://www.quitline.com/pressroom.php) are available online.


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SOURCE Washington State Department of Health
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
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