Free medications available to help Kansas smokers quit

Smoking can damage every part of the body, according to the CDC.

1-800-QUIT-NOW promotion runs June 20 – July 1, while supplies last

TOPEKA, Kan.- Smokers in Kansas can get free nicotine replacement therapy products from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Tobacco Quitline between June 20 – July 1, or while supplies last.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Tips From Former Smokers national tobacco education campaign will encourage smokers to call the Kansas Tobacco Quitline at 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) for free help getting medication and quit assistance. To take advantage of the free offer, which will run June 20-July 1, tobacco users must enroll in the Quitline with a trained coach and be medically eligible to receive the free medication.

“We want all tobacco users to know that although quitting is hard, they can do it,” said Jennifer Church, community health promotion section director of Kansas Department of Health and Environment. “Smokers often try to quit several times before succeeding, but proven treatments and services are available that can improve your chances of quitting for good. We encourage all Kansas smokers to try to quit, and if they want free help, to take advantage of this opportunity.”

People who smoke cigarettes can and do quit. Today there are more former smokers than current smokers in the United States. Surveys show that nearly 70 percent of all cigarette smokers want to quit, and additional research shows that quitting completely at any age has health benefits.

Stopping smoking:

  • Lowers risk for lung cancer and many other types of cancer.
  • Reduces risk for heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease (narrowing of the blood vessels outside the heart).
  • Reduces respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
  • Reduces risk of developing lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Reduces risk for infertility in women of childbearing age. Women who stop smoking during pregnancy also reduce their risk of having a low birth weight baby.

Counseling, including Quitline coaching, and medication, including nicotine replacement therapy products like gum, lozenges and patches, are both effective in helping smokers quit. Using counseling and medication together is more effective than using either one alone. Medications can help smokers quit by decreasing urges to smoke and other withdrawal symptoms while quitting.

The most recent data shows that approximately 18 percent of Kansas adults smoke cigarettes. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States and Kansas. Smoking kills 480,000 Americans each year, and 16 million Americans live with at least one smoking-related disease.

Additional information on quitting is available at www.ksquit.org.

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Left, locations and organs marked with circles identify cancers caused by smoking: head or neck, lung, stomach, kidney, pancreas, colon, cervix, and bladder. Right, circles identify chronic diseases caused by smoking: stroke, blindness, gum infection, aortic rupture, heart disease, pneumonia, hardening of the arteries, chronic lung disease or asthma, reduced fertility, and hip fracture. CDC infographic.

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