Department of Health Offers Free Nicotine Patches, Gum or Lozenges to Vermonters

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For Immediate Release: January 3 , 2007

Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

Amie Fullington
Kelliher Samets Volk
802-862-8261 x2865
amie@ksvc.com

BURLINGTON – The Vermont Department of Health is making it easier for Vermonters to quit smoking by offering FREE nicotine patches, gum or lozenges and shipping them directly to homes statewide.

Vermonters who sign up for free quit coaching from the Vermont Quit Line can now get home delivery of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products. The NRT products are provided free of charge, including shipping. And each local hospital’s Ready, Set…STOP Program will offer this option beginning in February. Quit coaching services like the Vermont Quit Line and the hospital programs, combined with the use of NRT, can double the chances of success.

About one in five Vermont adults smokes cigarettes, which represents approximately 94,000 adult smokers and results in an estimated 800 deaths from smoking-related diseases (including heart disease and cancer) every year. The good news is that Vermont smokers are trying to quit. In fact nearly half of them have made at least one serious quit attempt in the last year.

“Quitting smoking is one of the healthiest lifestyle changes a person can make, but it is also one of the most difficult,” said Health Commissioner Sharon Moffatt, RN, MSN. “By offering free NRT products shipped directly to homes, as part of our proven quit coaching programs, our goal is to enable as many Vermonters as possible to conquer their nicotine addiction and quit smoking for good.”

The Vermont Quit Line – 1-877-YES-QUIT – is a free service from the Vermont Department of Health, providing smokers with five short coaching sessions, which last 20 to 30 minutes and can be scheduled at any time that is convenient for them. Unlike a “hot line,” Vermonters are paired up with their own personal phone coach who helps the caller get ready to quit and guides them through the quitting process.

Vermonters who prefer a local option can enroll in their hospital’s Ready, Set…STOP Program, which offers a variety of services to help quit smoking, including group and individual coaching and support.

“Just because people try to quit smoking and fail the first few times, doesn’t mean they can’t quit. It takes most people five to seven tries before successfully quitting,” said Evelyn Sikorksi, Ready, Set…STOP quit coach at Fletcher Allen Hospital. “We encourage people to see their quit attempts as part of the normal journey toward becoming a non-smoker and we hope free NRT products will make that journey a little easier.”

“These medications decrease the urge to smoke and double a smoker’s chance of quitting. The best results come from a combination of medications and coaching support,” said Dr. John Hughes, professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Vermont. “I encourage smokers to call the Quit Line or enroll in Ready, Set…STOP before they quit so the coaches can help them get ready for their quit date, including free medications like nicotine patches, gum and lozenges.”

Vermonters resolving to quit smoking for 2007 and those looking for more information on the free NRT home delivery can call the Vermont Quit Line toll-free at 1-877-YES-QUIT (1-877-937-7848) or contact the Ready, Set…STOP Program at their local hospital. Additional information on Vermont’s quit smoking services can also be found at www.TobaccoStories.org.

Vermont’s comprehensive tobacco control efforts are funded entirely from yearly Master Settlement Agreement payments and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grants.

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