OAKLAND, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The North American Quitline Consortium (NAQC) today welcomed the release of the historic FDA rule on new warning labels for cigarettes. With this new rule, the U.S. will join a growing number of countries that include quitline telephone numbers along with hard-hitting graphic messages as part of the health warnings for tobacco products. These enhanced health warnings are effective in informing smokers in diverse communities about the risks of smoking, encouraging them to quit, and linking them with treatment services to make their quit attempts more successful.
Quitlines— telephone helplines where smokers can turn for trusted, reliable help when they want to quit – exist in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam. In 2009, state quitlines received over 1.04 million calls and enrolled 1.2% of all U.S. smokers in treatment services. Quitline services, which have been shown to greatly increase the chances that a smoker will quit1, are provided free of charge. For access to free quit smoking support, including quit coaching, educational materials, and referrals to local resources, smokers may call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). This toll-free telephone number connects callers to counseling and information about available quitline services in their states. Descriptions of state quitline services and other resources also are available online at http://www.naquitline.org/WarningLabels.
"This is a breakthrough moment for the field of tobacco control” said Linda A. Bailey, JD, MHS, president and CEO of NAQC. “The addition of 1-800-QUIT-NOW to tobacco warning labels will make smokers more aware of quitlines, will more than double the number of smokers who contact quitlines and will increase the number of smokers who quit.”2
Tobacco kills more than 435,000 U.S. residents every year; this represents twice as many deaths as those attributed to alcohol consumption, motor vehicle use, firearms, and illicit drug use combined. CDC has noted that quitlines are effective in increasing successful quitting and have the potential to reach large numbers of smokers. Also, the U.S. Public Health Service has documented that quitlines significantly increase abstinence rates compared to minimal or no counseling interventions and, the addition of quitline counseling to medication significantly improves abstinence rates compared to medication alone.
NORTH AMERICAN QUITLINE CONSORTIUM
The North American Quitline Consortium (NAQC) is a non-profit organization that strives to promote evidence-based quitline services across diverse communities in North America. By bringing quitline partners together—including state and provincial quitline administrators, researchers, quitline service providers, and national tobacco control organizations in the United States and Canada—NAQC helps facilitate shared learning and encourages improvements in the quality and availability of quitline services.
RESOURCES FOR THE MEDIA
For additional information on quitlines and warning labels, please see http://www.naquitline.org/WarningLabels or call 800-398-5489 extension 701.
1 Fiore MC et al. 2008. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Service.
2 Miller CL et al. Impact on the Australian Quitline of new graphic cigarette pack warnings including the Quitline number. Tob Control 2009 June; 18(3): 235-7. Epub 2009 Feb 11.