State’s Tobacco Quit Line is now available to users aged 15-17

The state Tobacco Quit Line will now offer counseling services to Kentuckians aged 15 to 17 to help them give up cigarettes or other tobacco products. The line had been available only to people 18 and older.

Public Health Commissioner William Hacker, a pediatrician by trade, said “Studies show that people have more success quitting smoking when they have access to resources like counseling and peer support. We hope this change will encourage young people who are interested in quitting to take action and start leading healthier, tobacco-free lives.”

Data from the 2010 Kentucky Youth Tobacco Survey show that almost 25 percent of the state’s high-school students are smokers and almost 70 percent of teenage smokers want to quit. Although the prevalence of smoking among youth has declined in the past few years, the smoking prevalence among teenagers and young adults is higher than among other adult populations.

“Addressing the prevalence of teen smoking in Kentucky is a critical issue because statistics show that more than 80 percent of adult smokers became regular smokers before age 18,” said Irene Centers, coordinator OF the tobacco prevention and cessation program in the Department of Public Health. “It’s imperative that we not only prevent young people from ever using cigarettes and tobacco products, but also that we offer assistance to help them give up tobacco.”

Kentucky’s Tobacco Quit Line is a free, telephone-based tobacco cessation service that offers:
· One-on-one proactive counseling for tobacco users who are ready to quit.
· Support for people who want to stop smoking or using other tobacco products.
· Information on tobacco dependence for health care professionals.
· Information about local resources to help tobacco users quit.

Callers to the line speak with coaches trained to assist them with quitting. Coaches have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent and are trained in behavioral modification and motivational interviewing. Services are available in English and Spanish at the time of the call. Counseling in other languages is available free through a third-party translation service. For the deaf or hard of hearing, TDY/TDD is available at (800) 969-1393. If employers want to help their employees quit, information is available through the Quit Line and local health departments. Group sessions and cessation materials can be made available at the worksite.

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