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The Washington State Quitline marked its 20th Anniversary on November 19, 2020, and announced modernized services that meet ongoing and emergent needs, from helping adults quit smoking – a risk factor for severe COVID-19 illness – to curbing the youth vaping epidemic.
Since November 2000, the Quitline has provided free, personalized, phone-based tobacco cessation counseling to tens of thousands of callers, saving them money and helping them live longer. This year, the North American Quitline Consortium ranked the Washington State Quitline second in the nation on participant quit rate.
An evaluation of 2018-19 Quitline services estimated that nearly 35 percent of participants had quit tobacco seven months after registering, and that for every dollar Washington spends on services, it saves five dollars in lost productivity, medical, and other costs.
Still, smoking costs Washington more than $2.8 billion in annual health care expenditures. Nationally, tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of disease and death, and Washington is no exception. Approximately 8,300 Washington adults die each year from smoking, with a disproportionately high burden on minorities and people who receive low wages.
Any Washingtonian can connect with the Quitline to learn about services available to them. In addition to calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW, Washingtonians can now text READY to 200-400 to register for free phone-based counseling, as well as text- and web-based cessation support. This support is increasingly tailored to meet the needs of specific populations, from teens who vape to adults with serious mental illness who smoke.
Modified from a Washington State Department of Health News Release.