A study finds telephone counseling services like “Quitline Iowa” help smokers double their chances for permanently kicking the habit. Aaron Swanson is a community health consultant for the Iowa Division of Tobacco Use, Prevention and Control. Swanson says the tollfree, statewide hotline is truly a life-preserver. The study found those smokers who got telephone counseling were twice as likely to quit and stay off cigarettes as those who refused the counseling. Swanson says trained counselors on the hotline offer smokers advice on all sorts of helpful quitting hints and will call the smokers over several days to offer encouragement. The results of the study were published in the October 3 issue of the “New England Journal of Medicine.” Swanson says the nicotine cravings usually last a week or two for smokers who are trying to quit, but they often run into trouble in trying to break routines that once involved lighting up. Quitline Iowa has been in business since May 2001. It’s staffed from 8 AM to midnight every day at 866-U-Can-Try. Between September of 2001 and June of this year, the hotline got nearly 22-hundred calls from 93 of Iowa’s 99 counties.
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