More Vermonters using Quit Line to stop smoking

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(Host) The Vermont Department of Health reports a big jump in the number of people calling their Quit Line. The department says through the first 11 months of the year, more than 2200 people called the toll-free service to get help to quit smoking. That’s a 46% jump over the same period last year.

Officials credit the four-year-old Quit Line with helping to reduce the number of Vermonters who smoke. The department says about 20% of all Vermonters smoke cigarettes.

However, for young Vermonters, the incidence of smoking is still very high. Moira Cook of the health department says the state is trying to get more of them to use the Quit Line.

(Cook) “For non-college 18 to 24 year olds it’s 42%, whereas for their college student peers, Its about 27%. So we’re really going after the non-college 18 to 24 year olds and we’re one of the few states in the country to go after that group.”

(Host) Cook says the department is targeting young smokers by marketing the Quit Line in gas stations, convenience stores and bars. Cook says the increased marketing is one reason why more people are calling the Quit Line — but it’s also because the state is now offering free or discounted smoking cessation therapies to all Vermonters. The therapies include nicotine patches, lozenges and gum. Cook says most smokers want to quit, but it’s not easy.

(Cook) “It takes an average of 5 to 7 quit attempts to quit for good. Each time you quit you learn a little bit more about what your personal triggers are. So we really encourage people to make that attempt.”

(Host) the Department of Health Quit Line number is 1-877-YES QUIT.

Smoking cessation help is also available through programs at 14 hospitals in Vermont.

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