Alabamians making a New Year's resolution to stop smoking in 2013 have free help available.
The Alabama Department of Public Health offers a free telephone-based tobacco cessation service that provides free counseling and two weeks of free nicotine patches to callers who begin telephone counseling and are medically eligible. The Alabama Tobacco Quitline – 1-800-Quit-Now – is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m until 5:30 p.m. Calls placed after these hours or on holidays will be returned the next business day. Quitline services are available online at www.alabamaquitnow.com .
More than 22 percent of adults in Alabama use tobacco. Alabama ranks eighth in the nation in states with the highest percentage of smokers.
Callers are required to participate in the counseling calls to receive the free nicotine replacement therapy patches. After beginning counseling, the patches are mailed to the caller's home if the caller is medically eligible. Those with underlying medical conditions or who take medications that could interfere with the patches' effectiveness are required to have their doctor's permission for the patches.
Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death in the United States. Each year, 7,600 Alabamians die from smoking-related causes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for every person that dies, 20 people are suffering from at least one serious tobacco-related illness.
Master's level counselors from the Quitline work individually with callers to help them formulate a specific plan to stop smoking. Nearly all counselors are certified tobacco cessation treatment specialists. Spanish-speaking and Asian-speaking counselors are available, along with translator services for those who speak other languages.
For more information, contact Adrienne Tricksey at 251-694-6035.
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