Washington State Quitline: 20 Years Helping Washingtonians Break Free From Tobacco

Washington State Quitline: 20 Years Helping Washingtonians Break Free From Tobacco

Immediate Release: November 19, 2020

OLYMPIA -- Today the Washington State Department of Health celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Washington State Quitline. Since November 2000, the quitline has provided free, personalized tobacco cessation counseling and medication to tens of thousands of callers. This year, the North American Quitline Consortium ranked Washington’s quitline second in the nation for its participant quit rate.

“The quitline is successful because it helps people help themselves to reach their own health goals. Quitting tobacco as soon as possible is important for all tobacco users, and it can make a huge difference for people with chronic or behavioral health conditions or limited access to health care,” said Secretary of Health John Wiesman.

It is more important than ever to reduce tobacco use and vaping because they increase the risk of developing serious health complications from viral infections, including COVID-19.

Today the quitline helps meet the needs of distinct groups, such as teens who vape and pregnant women who smoke, by counseling them on ways to beat nicotine addiction. Counseling is available in more than 240 languages, and participants can also get text- and web-based support.

An evaluation of 2018-19 quitline services estimated that nearly 35 percent of participants quit tobacco within seven months of registering. And, for every dollar spent on services, Washington saved five dollars in lost productivity, medical, and other costs.

Still, Washington spends more than $2.8 billion on annual health care related to smoking. About 8,300 Washington adults die each year from smoking, with a disproportionately high burden on minorities and people who receive low wages. As of 2019, 13 percent of adults in Washington smoked cigarettes. Nationally, tobacco use is still the leading preventable cause of disease and death.

To get help quitting cigarettes, vaping or any tobacco product, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or text READY to 200-400. Health care providers can refer patients online at quitline.com.

The quitline’s 20th anniversary coincides with this year’s Great American Smokeout, the American Cancer Society event on November 19, 2020, that promotes tobacco cessation nationwide.

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