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University of Iowa News Release

Dec. 20, 2004

Resolve to Quit Smoking In 2005 With Help From Quitline Iowa

Every year, millions of smokers make a New Year's resolution to quit smoking. But that resolution may go up in smoke if quitters don't have a plan in place for how to quit. For smokers who are serious about quitting, the key to success is adequate preparation, according to University of Iowa smoking cessation experts.

Fortunately, a variety 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., UI professor and head of community and behavioral 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 help callers develop an individualized quit plan, including strategies for dealing with cravings and withdrawal symptoms, and provides follow-up calls for ongoing support before, during and after the quitting process. 

If a smoker is not ready to call, Quitline Iowa provides online 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 aren't successful the first time," said Esther Baker, ITRC program coordinator. "The Quitline Iowa toll-free hotline and Web site provide individuals with the information and support they need to help them quit and remain smoke-free."

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.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACTS: Media: David Pedersen, (319) 335-8032,; Progam: Esther Baker, Iowa Tobacco Research Center, 319-384-4845,