State health officials are warning smokers they have just one more month to receive a free two week supply of nicotine-replacement patches or nicotine gum. The service, part of the Quitline Iowa program since 2008, will end on June 30th. Aaron Swanson is with the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Division of Tobacco Control and Prevention.
“It was a difficult decision, but in light of budget cuts…unfortunately, we had to make the decision to cut that particular aspect of the service,” Swanson said. Around half of the people who’ve called Quitline Iowa over the past two-and-a-half years have requested the nicotine patches or gum.
Sanson says more than 54,000 people have called Quitline since January 2008 and 27,450 have taken advantage of the free offer. Quitline Iowa will continue to offer free counseling services, which have been available since 2001. “People can still call 1-800-QUIT-NOW and receive the same effective counseling services to quit that they always have,” Swanson said.
The service is also available online at www.QuitlineIowa.org. Swanson notes that pharmacies sell two-week supplies of nicotine-replacement products for about $25. He says that’s considerably less than the cost of just one week’s supply of cigarettes to a pack-a-day smoker.