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University of Iowa News Release

Dec. 24, 2003

NOTE TO EDITORS: Additional smoking cessation information specific to counties around Iowa City (Johnson, Cedar, Iowa and Washington) and Des Moines (Dallas, Polk, Warren and Madison) is provided at the end of this news release.

Quitline Iowa Helps With New Year's Resolutions To Quit Smoking

Every year, the top three New Year's resolutions are to quit smoking, lose weight and handle finances better. For smokers who are serious about quitting, the key to success is adequate preparation, according to University of Iowa smoking cessation experts.

Fortunately, a wide range of smoking cessation resources, including a toll-free quitline and informational Web sites, are available to Iowa residents.

"These resources equip smokers who want to quit with the tools and information they need to be successful," said John Lowe, Dr.P.H., professor and head of community and behavioral health at the UI College of Public Health.

All Iowans can access Quitline Iowa, the statewide toll-free smoking cessation hotline, at (866) U-CAN-TRY (866-822-6879) for help with quitting. This service is available 8 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week. Staffed by trained counselors from the Iowa Tobacco Research Center (ITRC), Quitline Iowa offers callers state-of-the-art smoking cessation services over the phone. Callers can also request free materials to be sent in the mail, or referrals to smoking cessation resources in their community, including support groups, clinics and consultants.

"Research shows that a person who receives phone counseling during the quitting process is twice as likely to stay smoke-free as someone who tries to quit on their own," Lowe noted.

In the initial call to Quitline Iowa, a counselor helps determine the best method for a smoker to quit, based on the caller's smoking history, past quit attempts and level of readiness. The counselor can assist in developing an individualized plan and provide follow-up calls for on-going support before, during and after the quitting process.

If a smoker is not ready to call, Quitline Iowa provides on-line resources through their Web site at Visitors can use the smoking cost calculator to see the impact their habit has on their wallet, request information to be received by mail, download materials to use on their own and e-mail questions to a Quitline Iowa counselor through the Ask-A-Counselor feature.

"Studies indicate that it may take several attempts to quit smoking, so people should not be discouraged if they don't succeed the first time," said Esther Baker, ITRC program coordinator. "The Quitline Iowa toll-free hotline and Web site can provide individuals with the tools, resources and support tailored to their specific needs in order to help them quit successfully."

Quitline Iowa is a service provided by the Iowa Tobacco Research Center, part of the Department of Community and Behavioral Health in the UI College of Public Health, and is funded by the Iowa Department of Public Health with funds from the state's tobacco settlement.

Quitline Iowa serves all Iowa residents, toll-free, at (866) U-CAN-TRY (866-822-6879), or via the Web at For more information, contact Esther Baker at 319-384-4845 or

Five Tips to Help You Quit Smoking

(1) Stay motivated.
* Remind yourself every day why you are quitting.
* Picture yourself as a non-smoker.
* Avoid situations that you connect with smoking.

(2) Have a plan to fight cravings.
* Drink plenty of liquids, especially water.
* Find activities to keep you busy--take a walk, clean house, find hobbies.
* Find something to have in your mouth--chew gum, eat a healthy snack like vegetables or air-popped popcorn, or suck on sugar-free hard candy.

(3) Reduce stress.
* Exercise.
* Do some deep breathing--take a deep breath, hold it for several seconds, then release it very, very slowly.
* Talk to a supportive friend or family member.

(4) If you slip, don't give up.
* Give yourself credit for trying.
* Renew your resolution to quit.
* Remember that it may take several attempts to become smoke-free.

(5) Call Quitline Iowa at 1-866-U-CAN-TRY (or visit the Web site at
* Talk to a trained counselor who can help you develop a quit plan.
* Get information on the health benefits of quitting and strategies to help you quit.
* Receive follow-up calls for ongoing support.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5137 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

Quitline Iowa: (866) U-CAN-TRY (866-822-6879)

Iowa Tobacco Research Center: Dec. 24: Tim Guetterman, Training Coordinator, 319-384-4842,, or, available after Dec. 24: Esther Baker, Program Coordinator, 319-384-4845,

Media Only: Becky Soglin, 319-335-6660,, UI Health Science Relations

NOTE TO EDITORS: Program information specific to counties around Iowa City and Des Moines is as follows:

Johnson, Cedar, Iowa and Washington counties:
CAFE Johnson County, a local tobacco control coalition, has developed a coupon program that offsets the cost for nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs), such as the patch or gum, as well as the nicotine-free pill Zyban. "NRT has been proven to help," said Beth Ritter Ruback, project coordinator for CAFE Johnson County. "We wanted to assist smokers whose only reason for trying to quit without NRT has been the cost. When used along with the counseling services available from Quitline Iowa or our local cessation providers, our NRT coupon gives any smoker the best possible chance to quit for good."

To receive an NRT coupon good for residents of Johnson, Cedar, Iowa and Washington counties, contact Quitline Iowa for more information. Coupons are also available for college students by contacting Katie Budke at Health Iowa, 319-335-8388, for University of Iowa employees at the University Employee Health Clinic at 319-356-3631, and for the general public from Beth Joslin at the Johnson County Department of Public Health, 319-356-6040.

Dallas, Polk, Warren and Madison counties:
In Des Moines, the Central Iowa Tobacco-free Partnership (CITP) is announcing a free nicotine patch program for residents of Dallas, Polk, Warren and Madison Counties. Nicotine patches are available at no charge to people who are currently participating in a smoking cessation program. "We are reaching out to populations who would like to quit, but who can't afford patches," says Dan Ramsey, project director. "The only rule is that you have to be in a program, such as counseling through Quitline Iowa."

For more information on the free nicotine patch vouchers for Dallas, Polk, Warren and Madison Counties, contact Dan Ramsey, project coordinator, American Lung Association at 515-309-9507.