Last month, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced free nicotine replacement therapy (patches and gum) would be available through Quitline during the month of June. “We are happy to announce an extension of this offer - four weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) will now be available through Quitline through December 31, 2013,” said IDPH Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Division Director Meghan O’Brien. “We saw a tremendous response to the free NRT last month and continuing to provide this tool will help many more Iowans who have made the decision to be tobacco-free.” Funding approved by the legislature and signed by Governor Branstad has allowed the extension of the NRT offer.
July marks the five-year anniversary of Iowa’s Smokefree Air Act. The landmark legislation prohibits smoking in almost all public places and enclosed areas within employment, as well as some outdoor areas. Since the Smokefree Air Act was passed, IDPH has continued to work towards reduced tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke. Quitline has been one of the most important tools offered by IDPH to smokers who want to quit, and providing free NRT has historically spurred large increase in call volume to the help line. IDPH supports tobacco-free living in many other ways as well.
In April, IDPH launched a Smoke-Free Homes web site to provide education and awareness of the benefits of living in housing free of second-hand smoke exposure. Iowa Students for Tobacco Education and Prevention (I-STEP) is Iowa’s youth-led tobacco prevention movement, which actively reaches out through social media to encourage young adults to be tobacco-free. IDPH’s efforts to reduce tobacco use also include partnerships with the Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Commission, the Healthiest State Initiative, Blue Zones, Iowa Community Transformation grantees, American Lung Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and more. Information on all these programs and partnerships may be found at www.idph.state.ia.us/TUPAC/Default.aspx.
To sign up for the four weeks of free NRT or to learn about other tools to quit smoking, including Internet-based coaching, visit www.quitlineiowa.org or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.