The state’s Quitline Iowa program is offering some new services just in time for today’s Great American Smokeout. Aaron Swanson, with the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Division of Tobacco Control and Prevention, says the Quitline Iowa website now allows users to register online to receive free telephone counseling.
In addition, Swanson says users can now sign up for a password allowing them to e-mail a “Quitline coach” directly for support or tips on quitting. The Quitline Iowa service was launched in 2001 and is available online at www.quitlineiowa.org or by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
More than 13,000 Iowans used the service between January and September of this year. Swanson admits the calls have dropped off since July when an offer of free nicotine patches or gum was stripped from the program as part of a budget cutting move. “We are seeing a little bit of a decrease as a result of that, but our calls remain strong,” Swanson said.
An estimated 14% of adults in Iowa currently smoke tobacco. Swanson says most of those people are hoping to kick the habit. A recent survey found 83% of the Iowans who do currently smoke indicate they want to quit.