Financial aid offered to help smokers quit

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(Host) The State of Vermont has created a program that’s designed to help several thousand people quit smoking in the coming months. Attorney General Bill Sorrell says the plan will be funded using $100,000 in tobacco-related settlement money.

Vermont has roughly 93,000 adult smokers, about 20 percent of the entire adult population of the state.

Under the proposal, any smoker will be eligible for state financial assistance to get nicotine replacement products such as a patch or gum. Participants will also be able to take advantage of cessation counseling programs. Sorrell says the money will help bridge the gap in many individual health insurance policies that typically cover sixty percent of the cost of these programs.

(Sorrell) “I think an important message is that it’s never too late to quit. If you’ve been smoking all your life and you’re in your 50s or 60s or 70s, you can enhance the quality of your life by quitting now. And we want all adult smokers who are eligible to try to take advantage of this program. And again time is of the essence – there’s only $100,000 for this pilot project available and when it’s gone, it’s gone.”

(Host) Sorrell says the one requirement to receive the money is that individuals use a nicotine replacement product and enroll in a smoking cessation counseling program:

(Sorrell) “If you try to do it on your own without counseling and without NRT, the likelihood of your successfully quitting – and that is being smoke-free after six months – is only about 1 in 20, or 5 out of 100. Of those attempts with a combination of both the counseling and the NRT, your chances are increased up to about 1 in 5, which still only means that 20 out of 100. It underscores how addictive this drug is, how difficult it is to quit.”

(Host) Anyone interested in learning more about the program is encouraged to call the Vermont smoking quit line at (877) YES-QUIT.

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