The state Department of Health recently awarded a $20.6 million contract to Roswell Park Cancer Institute to continue to house the New York State Smokers’ Quitline for another five years – an agreement that will allow Roswell Park to provide a comprehensive approach to help tobacco users successfully quit.
“Our goal is to motivate and help as many New Yorkers as possible to quit smoking and stop using other tobacco products,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in a news release. The Quitline, working with the state’s anti-smoking ad campaign and Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free NY program, helped New York State achieve record low youth and adult smoking rates of 4.3 percent and 14.2 percent respectively, he said.
Roswell has operated the Quitline since it started in 2000. Its workers have responded to more than 2.5 million calls, providing evidence-based coaching by phone and access to nicotine replacement therapy. Through its website, nysmokefree.com, the Quitline provides ready access to tools and resources such as videos and downloads to help tobacco users quit. The Quitline also has a patient referral program to support health providers who work with patients who smoke. Cessation support information is also available for employer groups and the general public. The Quitline phone number is 866-697-8487.
Quitline coaches last year helped 53,060 tobacco users, mailed 46,377 nicotine replacement therapy starter kits to eligible New Yorkers and received 15,725 patient referrals from state health care providers. Nearly half those served were ages 45 to 64; 53 percent were women; and roughly one in six said they suffered from depression or anxiety, according to a new report led by a team from The Research Triangle Park in North Carolina that compared the New York Quitline to similar programs in 44 states. Other findings showed:
– An estimated 17 percent of callers had hypertension; 10 percent each had asthma or emphysema/COPD; and 8 percent had diabetes.
– 44 percent had an annual income less than $15,000.
– 58 percent reported their highest completed education level at or below a high school diploma.
– 48 percent were insured through Medicaid; 27 percent through private insurance.
Hospital officials said the grant will support about 50 jobs, including 15 new positions created to address an expanded need for services and help meet high-priority needs, such as helping those who have additional struggles overcoming tobacco dependence because of income level, education level and/or mental and behavioral health issues.