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Smoker’s helpline offers free nicotine patches

By August 18, 2011

El Dorado County smokers may, for a limited time, receive free nicotine patches through the California Smokers’ Helpline, 1-800-NO-BUTTS. Eligible smokers who call the helpline and enroll in the free telephone-based program for quitting will receive a free two-week starter kit of patches, while supplies last.

“This is certainly a great opportunity for someone who has been thinking of quitting smoking and needs a little extra support,” said El Dorado County Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye. “The patches are FDA-approved and release nicotine into the bloodstream through the skin, reducing withdrawal symptoms and slowly weaning smokers off nicotine. People who use both counseling and a quitting aid, such as the patch, have a better chance of quitting for good.”

Individuals must be over the age of 18 to participate in the program. There is no income requirement. Callers will be screened over the phone to determine if they have any medical or other issue that would prevent the use of the patch.

The free nicotine patches will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis to those who call 1-800-NO-BUTTS (English) or 1-800-NO-FUME (Spanish).

The California Smokers’ Helpline is funded through the California Department of Public Health and offers free one-on-one support from trained cessation counselors, a free self-help booklet, and referral to local quit-smoking programs.  The helpline is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. For more information visit nobutts.org.

El Dorado County is one of 34 counties in California selected to participate in the new nicotine patch program through the Smokers’ Helpline. All 34 California counties have an adult smoking prevalence rate of 14 percent or higher; El Dorado County’s rate is 16.8 percent. In comparison, the 2010 statewide adult smoking rate is 11.9 percent.  The new program is part of a nationwide effort called Communities Putting Prevention to Work, which aims to improve health and lower medical costs by preventing disease, such as those caused by tobacco use.

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