By JOSH NICHOLS
Daily Press writer
For those who want to quit smoking, help is now literally a phone call away.
On Tuesday, Oct. 16, the Colorado Quitline and Colorado QuitNet were unveiled as new alternatives for people who want to quit smoking.
The Colorado Quitline is a toll-free telephone counseling service that connects people who want to quit smoking with counselors who can guide and support them through the quitting process.
The Colorado QuitNet is an on-line service that offers support in the form of chatrooms in which people trying to quit smoking can talk to other people in the same situation.
"Virtually anyone in the state who has access to a telephone can take advantage of these convenient and confidential services, free of charge, simply by dialing 1-800-639-QUIT, or by logging on to co.quintet.com," said Karen DeLeeuw, director of the State Tobacco Education and Prevention Partnership program in a press release.
DeLeeuw said the decision to implement the new service in Colorado was based on research done in other states that have implemented hotlines and had success.
A quitline in California serves 10,000 people a year and 20 to 25 percent of those who use the service are able to quit smoking.
"The Colorado Quitline provides a proven behavioral program to assist those who want to quit on their own as well as those who are quitting with the help of medications," said Dr. Allan Prochazka, assistant chief of ambulatory care at the Denver Veteran's Administration Medical Center.
"There is research that shows people are more successful when they combine pharmaceuticals and counseling," Jill Conley, media coordinator for the State Tobacco Education and Prevention Partnership, said.
"If you get help, your chances of quitting are much better. The people who get support and have behavior modification counseling are more successful."
Only three percent of those who try to quit on their own are successful, she said, compared to the 25 percent who are able to quit using the quitline in California.
With the quitline, people don't have to go to a clinic or community center to get help either, she said.
"That's the beauty of it," Conley said. "Anyone who has access to a telephone can use this service. They don't have to worry about transportation or childcare."
And some people aren't comfortable in a group setting, she said.
She also said you are assigned a specific counselor with the service who can address your individual needs.
There are different types of tobacco users, she said, and the sessions are tailored to individuals' different needs.
"A lot of people have tried to quit smoking since the day they started," she said. "A lot of people just want hope and this system should be a friend to these people."