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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 4, 2004

Great American Smokeout, Quitline Provide Opportunity To Quit

Smokers across Iowa are encouraged to put out their cigarettes for at least one day, and hopefully forever, as part of the Great American Smokeout on Thursday, Nov. 18.

The American Cancer Society started the Great American Smokeout 28 years ago to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking and the many tools available to help people quit.

"The Great American Smokeout provides an excellent opportunity for people to make an attempt to quit," said John Lowe, Dr.P.H., professor and head of community and behavioral health in the University of Iowa College of Public Health. "Even if you've tried before, try again. This may the time you quit for good."

One resource available to smokers is Quitline Iowa, the statewide, toll-free smoking cessation hotline (866-U-CAN-TRY, or 866-822-6879). The service is available from 8 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week. Staffed by trained counselors from the Iowa Tobacco Research Center (ITRC), part of the UI Department of Community and Behavioral Health, Quitline Iowa offers callers state-of-the-art smoking cessation services over the phone in English and Spanish, with translation services available for other languages. Callers also may request free materials to be sent in the mail, or referrals to local smoking cessation resources in their community, including support groups, clinics and consultants.

"Research shows that a person who receives phone counseling during the quitting process is twice as likely to stay smoke free as someone who tries to quit on their own," Lowe noted.

During a person's initial call to Quitline Iowa, a counselor helps a smoker determine the best method for them to quit, based on the caller's smoking history, past quit attempts and level of readiness. The counselor can discuss options including nicotine replacement therapy or prescription medications; assist the smoker in developing an individualized quit plan; and provide follow-up calls for ongoing support before, during and after the quitting process.

If a smoker is not ready to call, Quitline Iowa provides on-line resources through its web site at www.quitlineiowa.org. Visitors can use the smoking cost calculator to see the impact their habit has on their wallet, request information to be received by mail, download materials to use on their own or e-mail questions to a Quitline Iowa counselor through the "Ask-A-Counselor" feature.

"Our telephone counseling services, Web site and educational materials help give smokers the tools and information they need to quit," said Esther Baker, ITRC program coordinator. "The keys to success are making a plan and getting support, whether it's from family, friends or the counselors at Quitline Iowa."

Quitline Iowa is a service provided by the Iowa Tobacco Research Center and is funded by the Iowa Department of Public Health with funds from the state's tobacco settlement.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACTS: Media: David Pedersen, (319) 335-8032, david-pedersen@uiowa.edu; Program: Esther Baker, Iowa Tobacco Research Center, 319-384-4845, esther-baker@uiowa.edu

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178