Helpline Celebrates 20 Years of Helping Smokers Quit

Oct 30, 2012, 13:07 ET from California Smokers' Helpline

Offers Top 10 Tips to Help Smokers Quit

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Shu-Hong Zhu, PhD, principal investigator for the California Smokers' Helpline ( today commemorated the Helpline's 20th anniversary. In 1992, the Helpline, also known as 1-800-N0-BUTTS, became the first in the nation to offer free, telephone-based services for tobacco users wanting to quit. The Helpline has served as a model for similar services that are now available in all 50 states.

"For two decades, the California Smokers' Helpline has enabled smokers across the state to take charge of their health and become tobacco-free," said Zhu. "We have come a long way in reducing the number of smokers in California. We have the second-lowest rate in the country, but we have more work to do. This is a proven service that doubles people's chances of successfully quitting, and we want to make sure people know about it."

Currently, there are about 3.6 million smokers in California. The estimated cost of smoking in California is nearly $16 billion annually, more than $3,000 per smoker per year.

Since its debut in August 1992, the California Smokers' Helpline has provided free, personalized and confidential services to more than 600,000 Californians from diverse communities throughout the state. Quitting assistance is provided in English (800-NO-BUTTS), Spanish (800-45-NO-FUME), Korean (800-556-5564), Vietnamese (800-778-8440), and Mandarin and Cantonese (800-838-8917).

"The fact that so many Californians have called for help shows how badly people want to quit," said Christopher Anderson, program director for the Helpline. "When you see a person who's still smoking, despite all the information about negative health effects, you might think they don't want to quit.  But, more often than not, they just don't know how to go about it or don't feel confident in their ability to quit. We help them come up with a plan and stick to it."

A free tip sheet for smokers, Top 10 Tips to Help Smokers Quit, is available in which Helpline counselors provide their top 10 tips for quitting successfully. "Quitting smoking can feel like an overwhelming task," said Dr. Gary Tedeschi, clinical director of the Helpline. "If you break it down into smaller steps it starts to seem more doable." The tip sheet is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

Media materials available are also available, including: Twenty Years of Calls to the California Smokers' Helpline, California Smokers' Helpline Success Stories, and Quotes from California Smokers' Helpline Counselors.

The Helpline is funded by the California Department of Public Health and by First 5 California.

Kristin Harms


SOURCE California Smokers' Helpline