HELENA – Since its inception in 2004, the Montana Tobacco Quit Line (1-800-784-8669) has received more than 95,000 calls.
The Quit Line gets around 4,000 calls each year, and the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services reports a notable increase in those calls each New Year.
“We always see an increase in callers we get in January specifically,” said Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program Manager Nicole Aune. “The Quit Line is ready for the increase in callers so don’t be afraid to call.”
Aune said they always make sure to staff up to assist with the New Year’s resolutions.
According to the health department, Montana has a tobacco quit rate at 34 percent, which is higher than the national average of 28 percent.
“We do still have a higher percentage of individuals who use tobacco,” noted Aune. “About a quarter of Montana adults are still using some form of tobacco product.”
The Montana Tobacco Quit Line has coaches to help form a quit plan, and those coaches are trained to help with quitting any form of tobacco or e-cigarette device.
“If somebody out there is addicted to e-cigarettes, addicted to Juul any of those e-cigarette products and they need help quitting those and getting off of the nicotine they can definitely call the quit line for help,” said Aune.
The health department has noticed more Montanans using e-cigarettes, with 23 percent of Montana youth saying they use them.
“That’s a really concerning number considering e-cigarettes contain nicotine so we want people to know the Quit Line is available for youth as well,” said Aune.
The health department notes the health benefits from quitting tobacco are too great to ignore.
“There are just so many health benefits with quitting tobacco and you see it almost immediately,” said Aune. “Just 20 minutes after quitting smoking your blood pressure lowers, 24 hours after your risk of heart attack decreases and then a year after quitting you have a lower risk of heart disease.”
Aune said quitting tobacco use can be difficult but the coaches available through the Montana Tobacco Quit Line and American Indian Commercial Tobacco Quit Line (1-855-372-0037) are always available to help a person take the first steps.
“More people in the United States are addicted to nicotine than any other drug that’s out there,” cautioned Aune, “Because nicotine is incredibly addictive it does take a lot of time, multiple attempts to actually be successful in quitting and that’s okay. So if you’re out there and you’ve already tried to quit tobacco please try again. This might be the time you stay quit for good.”
For more on Montana’s Tobacco Use Prevention Program and the services they offer you can visit their website here.
Story by John Riley, MTN News