The number of Iowans calling a state tobacco help hotline is expected to at least triple this month, as many people try to quit smoking in the New Year.
Aaron Swanson of the Iowa Department of Public Health says the number of calls typically increases from roughly a thousand during normal months to between 3,000 and 5,000 calls in January. Swanson says counselors ask callers a few questions and help them sign up for phone counseling to help them stop using tobacco products.
“There’s no one way to quit for any one individual that works for everybody,” Swanson says. “Everybody’s different in terms, you know, of their behavior and how much..and how long they’ve smoked, so they work with that individual to set up a ‘quit plan’ that will work best for them.”
According to Swanson, fewer than five percent of smokers who try to quit without medication or counseling are successful. But he says about 20 percent of callers to the Iowa Quitline succeed. “We know for a fact that the research shows that ‘quit lines’ work. They’re very effective at helping people quit,” Swanson says. “On average, the studies show people who use telephone ‘quit lines’ to quit smoking are twice as likely to quit as those who just try to quit on their own.”
The Iowa Quitline’s services are free to callers. It’s paid for through a mix of state and federal funds. The phone number is 1-800-QUIT-NOW.