The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is prepared for an expected increase in calls to the 1-800-QUIT-NOW phone line, as the CDC’s 2014 “Tips from Former Smokers” campaign begins. The television, radio, online, billboard, newspaper, magazine, and theater ads began running July 7 and will air into the fall.
When the first Tips campaign ran two years ago, Quit Lines across the nation saw an increase in calls from tobacco users seeking help in quitting their addiction. “The timing of this CDC campaign fits well with our current offer of eight weeks of free nicotine replacement to eligible Iowans over the age of 18,” said IDPH Tobacco Division Interim Director Jerilyn Oshel. In FY14, more than 4,000 Iowans accessed the free NRT benefit. The total number of Iowans using the program to quit tobacco is likely larger, as it only includes NRT accessed through the phone and Internet, not through Medicaid.
The Tips national tobacco education campaign has helped hundreds of thousands of smokers quit since it began in 2012. This year Tips returns with new ad participants living with the devastating effects of smoking-related diseases. The ads highlight illnesses and suffering caused by smoking that people don’t commonly associate with cigarette use, including disability and disfigurement from smoking.
The ads feature ‘real-life’ former smokers who tell their personal stories, including:
- Brett, 49, who lost most of his teeth to gum disease by age 42.
- Brian, 45, whose smoking and HIV, a harmful combination, led to clogged blood vessels and a stroke.
- Rose, 59, whose lung cancer resulted in surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
- Shawn, 50, who breathes through the opening in his throat due to smoking-related throat cancer.
In Iowa, 18.1 percent of adults smoke. Tobacco is the leading cause of death for Iowans, taking the lives of more than 4,400 adults each year. The estimated annual Iowa health care costs directly associated with tobacco use now total $1 billion.
Eligible Iowans calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visiting www.quitlineiowa.org may enroll in the free NRT offer, which includes access to a trained Quit Coach® who will help develop a quitting plan and determine which NRT offering is best for each individual. Services include:
- Preparing participants for their quit date.
- Providing tips and support to live in a smoke-free environment.
- Offering advice and information on medications that may help with withdrawal symptoms.
Registration specialists and Quit Coaches® are available 24 hours a day.
To learn more about The Tips from Former Smokers campaign, visit www.cdc.gov/tips.