- Tobacco use is a chronic addictive disease. Approximately half of all tobacco users will die from a tobacco-related illness.
- 78% of Massachusetts smokers say they would like to quit, and 56% say they have made a quit attempt in the past year.
- It takes most smokers as many as 8 quit attempts before they are able to quit for good.
- Although it is possible to quit "cold turkey," more than 95% of those who quit on their own will relapse.
- Evidence shows that the chance of successfully quitting is much higher with the use of behavioral counseling and FDA-approved stop-smoking medications, including nicotine patches, gum, nasal sprays, etc.
To promote cessation and help smokers quit, we offer cessation information and telephone-based (quitline) services through the Try to Stop Tobacco Resource Center, and works in partnership with health plans, healthcare providers and employers to promote adoption of effective cessation policies and treatment practices.
Evidence shows that if health care providers intervene routinely with smokers and offer treatment, quit rates increase significantly. This is more likely to occur when health care facilities have systems in place to identify and treat smokers, and providers regularly receive feedback on patients' progress in quitting.
MTCP promotes cessation and helps smokers to quit through the following initiatives:
- helping smokers quit through the Try to Stop Smokers' Helpline
- improving access to cessation services by working with healthcare providers, health insurers, and public and private employers in Massachusetts through the Quitworks program
- conducting Ready, Set, Quit, a pilot program designed to help smokers quit by providing eligible smokers with a free two-week supply of nicotine patches and telephone counseling services
- conducting cessation program evaluation and research
Massachusetts Smokers' Helpline
The Smokers' Helpline is an interactive web site for smokers, educational materials, and the Quitworks program. They also collaborate with MTCP on special promotional programs, such as Ready, Set, Quit, which distribute free nicotine replacement patches to smokers who want to quit.
The Smokers' Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), provides confidential telephone information, referral and counseling at no charge to smokers who want to quit
Counselors are available to speak English, Spanish and Portuguese. Translators are available for other languages.
www.TrytoStop.org is an interactive website for smokers that offers expert advice, an interactive bulletin board, self-directed quitting tools, resources and information in nine languages.
QuitWorks ( www.quitworks.org) is an interactive website that provides cessation services to smokers who are referred by their health care providers. QuitWorks was developed by MTCP in 2002 in collaboration with all major health care insurers in Massachusetts.
Heath care providers enroll patients who smoke in QuitWorks by faxing a completed referral form to the Resource Center. Trained telephone counselors then contact patients proactively to provide counseling and send providers fax-back reports on each patient's progress.
Health plans contribute substantially to the promotion of QuitWorks, including printing and distribution of materials.
More than one hundred hospitals, community health centers and DPH programs formally adopted the QuitWorks program and received customized services.
This information is provided by the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation & Prevention Program within the Department of Public Health.