Georgia Offers Web and Phone Rehab for Tobacco Users
By Morris News Service
June 21, 2013 —
ATLANTA -- Tobacco rehab is just a phone call away in Georgia. The Georgia Tobacco Quit Line is provided to smokers 13 or older and pregnant women who want to stop smoking.
This phone and web based counseling service is confidential, free of charge, requires no transportation and available every day of the year. Nearly 8,000 Georgians used it in the first six months of the year.
The quit line is operated by a national tobacco-cessation service under contract with the Department of Public Health. Established in 2001, the quit line is funded by the tobacco master settlement agreement between seven tobacco companies who agreed to change the way tobacco products are marketed and to pay the United States an estimated $206 billion. The tobacco companies also agreed to finance a $1.5 billion anti-smoking campaign.
The quit line offers initial intervention, a quit plan and date, medication, follow up sessions, unlimited calls, a clinical psychologist, a physician and seven months of calls to the patient to make sure that he or she stays smoke free.
Often times, smokers turn to electronic cigarettes to stop their habit, but these cigarettes still supply the body with nicotine.
"We don't want people to stop smoking real cigarettes and then turn to an electronic cigarette. We realize the need to be responsive and educate people that it is still tobacco use," said Shonta Chambers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's interim director of health promotions.
Any person 18 or older, regardless of healthcare insurance status, who enrolls in the multiple call program can receive a four week supply of free nicotine replacement therapies. The nicotine replacements come in a form of a patch or gum.
In the United States 70 percent of the 45 million smokers want to quit, but only 40 percent actually try to quit, and two-thirds of those who do try relapse in 30 days. Sixty- two percent of adult smokers in Georgia have made an attempt to quit in the past two years.
Yvette Daniels, Department of Public Health director of health promotions, said that she wants to increase the number of smoke-free school zones and non tobacco use, including chewing tobacco.
Smokers who are 18 and older have $1.8 billion in health care cost than non-smokers in Georgia.
By Nia Testamark