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posted on July 02, 2009 08:37
Free Nicotine Replacement Therapy Available Again Starting Today
 
As of July 1, Idaho smokers looking for help in kicking the nicotine habit can once again request free Nicotine Replacement Therapy through the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Project Filter.
 
The free four-week supply of nicotine patches, gum and lozenges was temporarily unavailable in May and June because the program ran out of funding due to a record-breaking number of Idahoans trying to quit smoking.
 
“We are pleased to be back in business and able to offer Idaho smokers another free tool to increase their chances of successfully quitting,” says Jack Miller, program manager for Project Filter, Idaho’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. “Every time you add a tool like Nicotine Replacement Therapy to your efforts to quit, your chances of success increase.”
 
Smokers can request the therapies be mailed to them by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW or logging on to www.idaho.quitnet.com. Idaho QuitNet is a free internet service that has been successful in helping smokers kick the habit by offering online support from fellow smokers and professional counselors alike. Idaho QuitLine is a free telephone counseling service designed to help smokers quit.
 
The Nicotine Replacement Therapy program started in July 2008 after the Idaho Legislature made money available from the Millennium Fund to provide Idahoans working to quit smoking with free access to nicotine gum, lozenges and patches. The 2009 Legislature voted this spring to continue the program, with the new funds made available today.
 
The program ran out of funds in late spring after the federal tobacco tax increased, causing the number of Idahoans trying to quit smoking to skyrocket. Typically, about 1,300 people seek help each month through Project Filter programs. That number doubled in March and reached more than 6,300 in April. Requests for the free nicotine replacement therapies shot up from 517 in January to 1,400 in March and 4,000 in April.
 
“We know that there are many Idahoans who are serious about quitting smoking,” says Miller. “Once someone makes that decision that today is the day to quit, we’re here to help.”
 
In 2007, 19 percent of Idaho adults reported smoking cigarettes. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the US. To learn more about Project Filter, go to www.projectfilter.org.
 
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(Editors: For more information please contact Department of Health and Welfare Public Information Officer Emily Simnitt, 208-334-0693.)