The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is expanding its efforts to help Georgians quit smoking and stop using tobacco products.
With grant money from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DPH is offering a four-week supply of free Nicotine Replacement Therapy to all uninsured Georgia tobacco users aged 18 and older. Along with the American Cancer Society and the Great American Smokeout, DPH is urging Georgians to quit smoking for a day and eventually for life.
More than 1.5 million Georgians aged 18 and older smoke cigarettes. Another 315,000 adults in Georgia use some form of smokeless tobacco like chewing tobacco, snuff, or snus. And recent data shows that tobacco use is increasing among Georgia teens and young adults putting even more lives at risk for cancer. Smoking costs Georgians $1.8 billion in direct healthcare costs every year and $3.2 billion in lost productivity.
“Tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of death in Georgia,” says Kimberly Redding, M.D., director of the Health Promotion & Disease Prevention section in the Georgia Department of Public Health. “Every year in Georgia, more than 10,000 people die from smoke related illnesses – that’s more than from alcohol, cocaine and heroin, AIDS, murders, suicides, auto accidents and fires combined.”
The free Nicotine Replacement Therapy medication comes in the form of patches and gum. Uninsured Georgians who use tobacco and are ready to quit, can contact the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line at 1-877-270-STOP (7867) for the free therapies. The Georgia Tobacco Quit Line provides free and confidential, professional tobacco cessation telephone and web-based counseling to all Georgia tobacco users ages 13 Georgia Department of Public Health | We Protect Lives. and older including pregnant and postpartum women. Since 2001, the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line has helped nearly 85,000 Georgians in their attempts to stop smoking.
Georgia adults who use any form of tobacco are encouraged to speak to their healthcare provider or pharmacist for additional support and information about safe, effective and appropriate medication treatment options to assist with quitting tobacco. The Quit Line is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Additional tobacco cessation resources are available at the Georgia Department of Public Health’s Live Healthy Georgia website: http://www.livehealthygeorgia.org/peoplesmokefree.shtml.