(Salt Lake City) – In January 2012, nearly 1,100 Utah tobacco users signed up for quitting help offered by the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) Tobacco Quit Line. This represents a 70% increase over the average number of enrollments received in the month of January in the past three years. Radio spots, TV ads, and referrals from family and friends contributed to the jump.
The most recent educational campaign features the animated character Kurtz. It shows the struggles Kurtz goes through when quitting smoking, how everybody wants Kurtz to quit (even the dog), and how quitting takes practice.
“When people who use tobacco see a helpful and friendly media message, they’re encouraged in their quit attempt and they get more confident,” said David Neville, UDOH Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. “The Quit Line helps smokers truly believe they can quit by offering the most effective resources based on the latest research,” Neville added. “And the quit staff’s only goal is to help people quit tobacco – at no cost and completely confidentially.”
Quitting coaches at the Utah Tobacco Quit Line are college graduates with additional training in motivational interviewing. They are trained to understand the psychology of a smoker, so they can better help people quit and stay quit. Many of the coaches are former smokers, too, so they understand how tough quitting tobacco can be.
Zo Finney used the Utah Tobacco Quit Line, along with nicotine patches, to quit smoking. “It was the hardest time of my life, but it’s been the most worthwhile effort I’ve ever put into my life,” said Finney. “The friendly staff at the Quit Line were focused on only one thing: helping me stop smoking. I just kept telling myself, ‘If I can stop smoking, I can do anything.’ Well I did, and I can.
“So now if I can help anyone else quit smoking, I will, because I know my life is healthier, and I look forward to each new day with confidence and optimism,” Finney added.
Regardless of insurance, all Utah residents are eligible to call the Utah Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669), where they can receive free phone sessions with a quit counselor, free information kits, and in many cases free nicotine gum, patches, or lozenges to help them overcome nicotine addiction.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more ex-smokers than current smokers, 80% of Utah smokers want to quit, and smokers are more likely to quit with help. In addition to the Quit Line, the UDOH provides UtahQuitNet.com, an online stop-smoking resource. UtahQuitNet.com includes free chat rooms, expert forums, and quitting tutorials. And, as always, it’s 100% free and 100% confidential.
David Neville, Media Liaison