Health officials offer free help to quit smoking

INDIANAPOLIS—The Indiana Tobacco Quitline is offering Hoosiers who use tobacco free medication to help them quit smoking. The free nicotine replacement therapy promotion begins May 1 and will end when supplies run out.

“We want Hoosiers who are addicted to nicotine to know that although quitting is hard, they can do it,” said Miranda Spitznagle, director of the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Commission at the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH). “Smokers often try to quit several times before succeeding, but proven treatments and services are available that can improve your chances to quit for good. We encourage all Hoosiers to try to quit and to take advantage of this opportunity for free help.”

To take advantage of the free offer, those who use tobacco must enroll in the Indiana Tobacco Quitline, which provides a trained coach who will work with them to make a personalized quit plan. Online counseling is also provided. Once enrolled, participants will receive a two-week supply of free medication, including gum and patches. The gum and patches are paid for with tobacco program money.

Although it can be difficult to overcome nicotine addiction, Hoosiers do quit smoking every day. Today, there are more former smokers than current smokers nationwide. Surveys have found that nearly 70 percent of all cigarette smokers want to quit, and research shows quitting at any age has health benefits. Those benefits include:

  • Lowering your risk for lung cancer and many other types of cancer
  • Reducing your risk for heart disease and stroke
  • Reducing respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath
  • Lowering your risk of developing lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Reducing your risk of infertility
  • Lowering your risk of having a low-birth-weight baby

“Counseling, including Quitline coaching, and medication are both effective in helping people quit, and using them together is more effective than using either one alone,” said Spitznagle. “Medications help those who use tobacco quit by decreasing urges to smoke and easing withdrawal symptoms.”

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. Approximately 20 percent of Indiana adults smoke, and smoking kills more than 11,000 Hoosiers each year. More than 330,000 Hoosiers live with smoking-related diseases.

This month the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched their seventh annual Tips from Former Smokers campaign featuring real people who are living with the effects of smoking-related diseases and secondhand smoke exposure. To see this year’s ads, go to

Take the first step toward quitting smoking and get free help by calling the Indiana Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or by going to

Visit ISDH at for important health and safety information, or follow us on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at

SOURCE: News release from Indiana State Department of Health