Operators of the phone service that helps people try to quit smoking says they’ve seen more calls since the bill to increase the state cigarette tax by one dollar went into effect last Friday. Esther Baker is the co-ordinator of "Quitline Iowa." "Looking at the call volume since the governor signed the bill into law, we’ve uh, more than doubled our average call volume. It’s very exciting," Baker says. Baker talks more about the increase in calls.
Baker says in an average week they might have 70 calls, and this week they have 200 or so. She says people are taking advantage of the tax increase as an incentive to quit. Baker says once people call, counselors try to tailor a plan to help them quit. Baker says they talk to people about their history, what they’ve tried to stop smoking, their support and then make a plan that works best for them.
Baker says making the phone call doesn’t ensure you’ll be able to quit smoking. She says on average it takes multiple times for people to quit smoking, so she says, "We really encourage people to not be discouraged." Baker says she hopes the extra cost of cigarettes with the tax increase, along with the health improvement will be enough to make more people call. She says you can call: 1-800-Quit-Now. Baker says the most recent calls have been running two-to-one from women, although she says stats show more Iowa men smoke than women.