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Stamp Out Smoking has toll-free Quitline

Thursday, February 20, 2003

The Stamp Out Smoking (SOS) Quitline began operation Jan. 13 to help the more than 500,000 Arkansas tobacco users break the habit. The Quitline's toll-free number is 866-NOW-QUIT.

Stamp Out Smoking is a media and public relations campaign funded with portions of Arkansas' tobacco settlement money through the Arkansas Department of Health's Tobacco Prevention and Education Program. The SOS Quitline is a part of the campaign's new cessation program.

Statistics show about 25 percent of Arkansas adults and 35 percent of Arkansas high school students are smokers. Those are pretty staggering numbers," said Dr. Fay Boozman, director of the Arkansas Department of Health. "One of every two smokers dies from a smoking-related illness and Arkansas has the third highest death rate from smoking in the nation. One of the most effective ways to improve the health of Arkansans and reduce these costs is to help people quit using tobacco."

Professional counselors at the Mayo Clinic Tobacco Quitline will provide service for the SOS Quitline. The experienced counselors all hold degrees in psychology, counseling or social services and have helped hundreds of people stop using tobacco.

The SOS Quitline is expected to field about 150 calls per month, either for people who want to quit using tobacco, people who want to help a loved one stop using tobacco or physicians and counselors who will use the Quitline as a resource to help them treat their patients.

Approximately 30 percent of the people who enroll in the SOS Quitline are expected to quit successfully. That would mean about 25 individuals quieting successfully each month, which would translate into a savings of over $1 million each year in medical costs.

For more information contact Cindy Smith, Fulton County tobacco control coordinator, at (870) 895-Sale.

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