State Health Department Announces Over $5.5 Million to Extend Smokers' Quit Line

Quit Line Continues To Aid New Yorkers in the Fight Against Smoking

ALBANY, April 13, 2004 — The New York State Department of Health today announced more than $5.5 million in funding was awarded to Roswell Park Cancer Institute of Buffalo, New York to extend the New York State Smokers' Quit Line services. Under this extension the Quit Line will operate from June 1, 2004 to May 31, 2009 and the phone number will remain 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487).

"Quitting smoking is the most important step a smoker can take to reduce his or her risk of tobacco-caused illness. Extending the Smokers' Quit Line means that thousands of people will continue to have access to convenient and confidential support that will help them stop smoking," said Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D, M.P.H., Dr. P.H. "We are seeing successful results with the Smokers Quit Line. This service is not only sending a clear message not to smoke, but it is providing important information and proven cessation methods to those smokers who want to quit."

Under the leadership of Governor George Pataki, the New York State Smokers' Quit Line was established to provide cessation support, referrals and information to callers who wish to quit smoking or obtain information related to cessation and tobacco use. Callers may speak to trained information specialists who are available weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. or leave a message during off-hours to have their phone call returned by a specialist. They may also order a free smoking cessation guide to be mailed directly to their home or listen to a taped message library that provides information about quitting smoking.

These services are also designed to assist health professionals, physicians and health care providers who can use the Quit Line as a referral for their patients' smoking cessation programs or to obtain up-to-date information on smoking cessation techniques and medications. The Quit Line has received more than 217,000 calls since its inception in January 2000.

The Department issued a Request for Proposals in October 2003 to expand Quit Line services and received six proposals from experienced Quit Line providers across the country. This was a competitive bid process, requiring these providers to submit proposals that would:

  • Provide telephone assistance to an estimated 45,000 to 55,000 callers annually;
  • Provide a pro-active calling component to an additional estimated 5,000 callers annually, based on Quit Line initiated collaboration with health care providers who refer their patients to the Quit Line;
  • Establish an interactive web-based cessation and information service;
  • Develop a protocol for delivering free or reduced price nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) of up to 10,000 eligible smokers annually;
  • Monitor and assess the quality, impact, and effectiveness of the different components of the Quit Line service.

Tobacco control experts within the Department reviewed each proposal. Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York again received the more than $5.5 million contract to continue the important services the Smokers' Quit Line offers.

New York State will undertake a $40 million comprehensive statewide tobacco control effort in 2004, which includes:

  • Supporting expanded statewide Smokers' Quit Line services;
  • Mobilizing communities to change the environment that supports tobacco;
  • Utilizing media to increase awareness of the dangers of secondhand smoke and motivating tobacco users to quit;
  • Using counter-marketing efforts to de-glamorize tobacco use;
  • Enforcing restrictions on youth access to tobacco;
  • Supporting schools to effectively implement tobacco-free policies;
  • Training health care organizations to establish tobacco use screening and referral systems.

More information about the New York State Smokers' Quit Line can be found by calling 1-866-NY QUITS (1-866-697-8487) or by visiting the New York State Department of Health web site (http://www.health.ny.gov).