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New Tool To Help Georgians Quit Smoking

Armen Hareyan's picture

On July 1, the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health, will be launching a 12-month , pilot Nicotine Replacement Therapy program for clients of the Georgia QuitLine to decrease tobacco use among the state's residents. DHR is collaborating with Free & Clear Inc. to offer the NRT program to Georgia QuitLine clients who reside in one of the following five public health districts: Northwest (Rome), North Georgia (Dalton), South (Valdosta), Southeast (Waycross) and Coastal (Savannah/Brunswick). These public health districts were selected as participants based on their high prevalence of tobacco use.

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"Almost one in four persons living in the participating health districts use tobacco products which, in turn, have a significant impact on their overall health," said Dr. Sandra Elizabeth Ford, acting director of the Division of Public Health. "In an effort to better the lives of Georgians, we have combined Georgia QuitLine services with the pilot NRT program. It is our hope that we will significantly decrease tobacco use in these areas with these services."

Adults who are 18 years of age and older and resident in one of the participating health public districts may be eligible for the NRT pilot program. Residents must be enrolled in the QuitLine Multiple Call Program and must not be experiencing any medical exclusions. Three choices of NRT will be available to participants, including: nicotine patch, nicotine gum and nicotine lozenge. All three choices will be provided at no cost for a total of eight weeks and medical overrides will be in place for those contraindicated for the program, including pregnant women.

New educational materials will be developed and distributed to health promotion coordinators in each public health district to help promote the NRT component. Partnerships with the school systems, which were developed through the passage of the Tobacco Free School policy, will also enable the pilot program to be promoted in the school systems in the target areas. The Georgia Hospital Association (GHA) will support the program's efforts through newsletters and conference calls.