You’ve undoubtedly seen them on the shelves of Target, CVS and similar stores, and the cost may have stopped you in your tracks: Nicotine-replacement products like gums, lozenges and patches are formulated to help people stop using tobacco products, yet they come with a steep price tag.
But Nevadans have a far less expensive option to help them kick their nicotine habit — and in fact, it’s completely free: The Nevada Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW offers enrollees free nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) for up to eight weeks as just one aspect of its services.
“I wish more people knew that there was this free resource available to anyone who wants to quit any type of tobacco,” says Kelli Goatley-Seals, President of the Nevada Tobacco Prevention Coalition, adding that she often passes by browsers looking at tobacco-cessation products in stores. “I think to myself, ‘Why do people pay for something like this that they could get for free, plus have a trained professional help them through their journey?’”
These professionals staff the Nevada Tobacco Quitline and offer personalized coaching, guidance on tobacco cessation medications (including how to access them for free), email and text support. The Quitline is supervised by quit coaches, and medical and clinical directors.
“Quitting can be so difficult,” Goatley-Seals acknowledges. “It takes a person upwards of six tries before they successfully quit their nicotine addiction, and some people need 20 or even 30 tries before they quit for good. But the Nevada Tobacco Quitline provides a great tool for the community — for those who want to stop using tobacco, including vaping, cigarettes and chew — offering proven ways to quit with trained coaches that can walk people through the process.”
Research-Proven Strategies to Help Nevadans Quit
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published a compilation of scientific research in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, revealing that telephone call centers, also called “quitlines,” have been a particularly successful intervention.
The report, compiled by Rebecca M. Glover-Kudon, PhD, MSPH, and Emily F. Gates, PhD, notes: “A particular success has been the development and evolution of telephone call centers or quitlines, which offer individualized cessation support by quit coaches trained in motivational techniques; as funding allows, quitlines also provide free nicotine-replacement therapies, such as the nicotine patch, to eligible callers.”
Goatley-Seals says the Nevada Tobacco Quitline has been serving Nevada for about seven years. Participants enroll and work with a coach online or by telephone to prepare a quit plan, set a quit date, understand their triggers, manage cravings and address relapses. While the service is free to Nevadans, if participants have insurance, it may be billed.
Coaching services are offered to all Nevadans 13+, and Goatley-Seals describes some demographics as priority populations — including women who are pregnant or post-partum, people who are uninsured or underinsured, and American Indians.
She adds that another age range of focus is the 18- to 21-year old population, due to a federal law that changed at the beginning of 2020. At that time, the minimum age a person must be for a store to legally sell them tobacco products increased — from 18 to 21. Because of this change, the Nevada Tobacco Quitline is providing free prescription tobacco cessation medicines like Chantix for this 18- to 21-year-old population.
“These medicines are extremely effective but also expensive, and insurance doesn’t always cover them,” she says. “The fact that the Quitline offers prescription medications to this age group is a remarkable benefit.”
Adolescents Also Receive Quit Support
Nevadans between 13 and 17 can also participate in a tobacco cessation program through the My Life My Quit program, a free, confidential service offering coaching sessions by phone, text, or online chat. While no NRT is supplied to this age group, program coaches receive extensive training as tobacco treatment specialists through an accredited program, with additional training on adolescent cognitive and psychosocial development.
“They communicate with this group in ways that are most appealing to them, like via text, for example,” Goatley-Seals describes.
Youth can text “Start My Quit” to 36072, call 855-891-9989, or visit mylifemyquit.com.
Tools to Help Nevadans Quit
In Nevada, Goatley-Seals says about 15% of people report on surveys that they smoke, which is slightly above the national average of 14%.
And while some people report that they can successfully quit cold turkey, nicotine addiction is powerful, and the majority of those who want to quit tobacco need tools to help them do so.
“Research shows that counseling combined with nicotine replacement therapy or prescription medications can lead to far greater success,” Goatley-Seals says. “And this makes sense: The more tools and resources at your disposal, the more successful your efforts will be.”
The bottom line, she adds, is that Nevadans don’t have to do it alone, and they also don’t have to pay for expensive resources.
“The Nevada Tobacco Quitline is a judgment-free, supportive space,” she says. “And it really works.”
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