Since Iowa boosted its tax on cigarettes by a buck-a-pack, calls to Iowa’s "quit line" have tripled. Bonnie Mapes, with the Iowa Department of Public Health, says counseling is the key. She says even brief counseling from a physician can double or triple the effective quit rate, "Nicotine patches and gum can also double the quit rate, but they’re much more effective when combined with counseling."
Mapes says smokers that want to quit may not be familiar with the quit line, but should take the time to call. "It’s free, it’s available for extended hours, and they’re professional counselors," Mapes says, "and Medicaid clients can get nicotine gum or patches through the Medicaid program". Mapes estimates that 18-percent of Iowans currently smoke. The quit line phone number is 1-800-QUIT-NOW.