ALBANY—The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is furthering its efforts to help Georgians quit smoking and stop using tobacco products. With grant money from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DPH is offering a four-week supply of free Nicotine Replacement Therapy to all uninsured Georgia tobacco users aged 18 and older who receive counseling through the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line. The Cancer Coalition of South Georgia and the Southwest Georgia Public Health District have teamed up to get the word out about the availability of these resources.
Tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of death in Georgia,” says Kimberly Scott, health education coordinator for the Cancer Coalition of South Georgia. “Every year in Georgia, more citizens die from smoking related illnesses than from alcohol, cocaine and heroin, AIDS murders, suicides, auto accidents and fires combined,” Scott explained. She further stated that smoking costs Georgians $1.8 billion in direct healthcare costs every year and $3.2 billion in lost productivity.
Individualized counseling and free Nicotine Replacement Therapy, including both patches and gum, are available. Uninsured Georgians who use tobacco and are ready to quit, can call the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line at 1-877-270-STOP (7867) for the free therapies. The Georgia Tobacco Quit Line provides free and confidential, professional tobacco cessation telephone and web-based counseling to all Georgia tobacco users ages 13 and older, including pregnant and postpartum women. Scott said pregnant women are particularly vulnerable and encouraged to quit because smoking affects not only the woman’s health, but that of her unborn child and other children as well.
“The Georgia Tobacco Quit Line is an excellent resource for people who need personalized help to kick the habit,” said Scott. “It takes less than 10 minutes to enroll. An extremely knowledgeable and prepared coach will assist the caller in choosing a quit date and will answer questions and provide many helpful tips to garner success in finally quitting.”
The Quit Line is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Additional tobacco cessation resources are available at the Georgia Department of Public Health’s Live Health Georgia website: http://www.livehealthygeorgia.org/peoplesmokefree.shtml