Tennessee Department of Health Announces First Tennessee Tobacco Quitline

Sunday, August 27, 2006 | 08:00pm

Service Will Provide Aid in Smoking Cessation for
Tennessee’s One
Million Smokers

Nashville, August 28, 2006

Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Kenneth S. Robinson, M.D., today announced the launch of Tennessee’s first statewide telephone-based tobacco cessation program. Tennesseans can now call the new Tennessee Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) to receive personalized support to aid in quitting cigarette, spit or chew tobacco.

“Governor Bredesen has stressed the importance of personal responsibility and healthy lifestyle choices in protecting the health of Tennesseans,” said Health Commissioner Kenneth S. Robinson, M.D. “The Tennessee Tobacco Quitline offers a new opportunity for citizens to receive individual assistance to stop use of tobacco products and not only improve their own health but also the health of their loved ones.”

The Tennessee Tobacco Quitline is a toll-free service offered to the one million, or 26 percent, of Tennesseans who use tobacco products. Callers will be connected with a trained quit coach who will guide them through the quitting process, as well as ongoing professional coaching via individually scheduled calls from a counselor personally assigned to them. The Tennessee Tobacco Quitline, a free, confidential service, is available to Tennessee residents in both English and Spanish. Quitline callers will also have complimentary access to relapse prevention techniques, “Quit Kit” resource materials, information on nicotine replacement therapies and other services to aid in the quitting process. 

“More than half of Tennesseans who smoke attempted to quit smoking in the last year,” said Commissioner Robinson. “This indicates how often smokers themselves are acutely aware of the negative consequences of smoking, for themselves and for those around them. I applaud their efforts to take a step in the right direction. Now, the availability of the Tennessee Tobacco Quitline will make future attempts by our citizens more successful and permanent. The Tennessee Tobacco Quitline is just one service the Tennessee Department of Health offers to help Tennesseans to live healthier and have better health.”

Lung cancer, one of the many health complications from smoking, was the number one cancer killer in Tennessee, killing 4,148 Tennessee residents in 2004 and making up one-third of cancer deaths (from the Division of Health Statistics). Other tobacco-related illnesses include heart disease, stroke and certain other types of cancer. Tobacco use also can lead to premature delivery, low birthweight babies and infant mortality. Secondhand smoke can be just as dangerous to others. U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona released a comprehensive report earlier this year detailing that non-smokers have an increased risk of heart disease and lung cancer as a result of secondhand smoke in their environments.

The benefits of quitting smoking are significant and almost immediate. Within 20 minutes of giving up tobacco, elevated blood pressure and pulse decrease; in two days, nerve endings regenerate; in two weeks, circulation improves; in one to nine months fatigue and shortness of breath decrease; and in one year, the risk of a heart attack is cut in half. 

Administered by Leade Health, based on its successful “iCan Quit” program for tobacco cessation, the Tennessee Tobacco Quitline offers special services for various populations. Hearing-impaired callers may still have access to these services by calling 1-877-559-3816. Before the Tennessee Tobacco Quitline was available, the National Network of Tobacco Cessation Quitlines provided services to Tennesseans.

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