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The Robesonian

NCDHHS launches new services to make stopping tobacco use and vaping more accessible

By Staff report,

2023-03-15
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RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today launched an improved QuitlineNC, offering more services and ways for tobacco users to successfully quit smoking or stop using other tobacco products, including vaping and e-cigarettes. Those seeking to quit smoking can now access “Quit Coaches” through live chat or text, watch group videos and create a personalized dashboard to track their quitting progress.

Tobacco use among adults in North Carolina has been slowly declining yet remains consistently above the national average, according to the most recent trend data from 2020. One in five adults and one in eight high school students currently use at least one tobacco product. And e-cigarette and vape use among North Carolina high school students increased more than 1,000% between 2011 and 2019, and national surveys suggest rates may be increasing again since 2021 — the most recent available trend data.

The benefits of quitting are huge and improvements in health can be seen in as few as 2-12 weeks and continue throughout life. QuitlineNC is a highly effective, free and confidential tool that provides anyone who needs it with easy access to expertly trained Quit Coaches, as well as free nicotine replacement therapy (patches with gum or lozenges) for adult participants. Services are available in English and Spanish and can be translated in more than 200 languages.

“Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in North Carolina and nationwide,” said Susan Kansagra, M.D., Director of the NCDHHS Division of Public Health. “We are making this resource available to support the health and well-being of North Carolinians, including young people who want to quit vaping.”

There are additional tailored programs for teenagers, pregnant women, people planning to become pregnant, people parenting an infant and people with behavioral health conditions. These programs provide special counseling and often longer-term treatment for people who may find it especially difficult to quit.

“Tobacco use is highly addictive, and many people who try to quit on their own don’t always succeed,” said Kimberly McDonald, M.D., Chief of the NCDHHS Division of Public Health’s Chronic Disease and Injury Section. “We know when tobacco users get the support they need, it can really help them quit and live tobacco- or vape-free. People can access these new services using their smartphones and computers as well as their telephones.”

People who use the resources available through QuitlineNC are more than five times more likely to quit for good than those who try to quit on their own, without the standard of care assistance which includes both tobacco treatment medications plus counseling help. These services are free and available 24/7. To reach QuitlineNC:

Since 2005, customer satisfaction has been very high for people in North Carolina using QuitlineNC. Approximately 35,000 North Carolinians have quit smoking or using other tobacco products through counseling and nicotine replacement services received from QuitlineNC. For this reason, many health care, dental care and behavioral health care providers refer their clients to QuitlineNC for professional tobacco use dependence treatment.

QuitlineNC services are funded through the CDC Office on Smoking and Health and NCDHHS. Additionally, many organizations, like Blue Cross Blue Shield NC, private employers and many local and county municipalities in the state, purchase QuitlineNC services for their beneficiaries, employees and residents to help their community members succeed in quitting for good. More information on QuitlineNC is available at QuitlineNC.com.

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