A lot of Iowans are resolving to quit smoking – if the calls to a hotline designed to help them quit is any indication. Bonnie Mapes, with the Iowa Department of Public Health, says the number of calls to Quitline Iowa from January 1 through today, equals nearly half of all the calls made in 2007.
The dramatic increase is due to an offer of free nicotine patches and gum."In the first full week of offering the free patches and gum, we’ve received 2,560 calls to Quitline Iowa," Mapes said. More than half of the callers are asking for more than the free gifts. Mapes says over 1,300 people have enrolled in the Quitline Iowa "coaching," which involves up to eight follow-up calls from professional smoking cessation counselors. Any Iowan, 18 years of age or older, who calls Quitline Iowa – can receive a two-week supply of nicotine patches or gum following a brief health screening.
Mapes says the offer should be available through June of 2011. "It isn’t like you have to call today or you’re going to miss out," Mapes says, "we really do think we’re going to have sufficient supplies on hand to meet the needs of the people who are calling." About 18 percent of adult Iowans say they currently smoke. Mapes says three out of every four Iowans who do smoke – say they want to quit. The Quitline Iowa number is 1-800-QUIT-NOW.