News Release

PO 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
Christine Grant
Commissioner
For Release:
November 13, 2000
For Further Information Contact:
DHSS -- Rita Manno and
Marilyn Riley,
609-984-7160
Fleishman-Hillard -- Janet Johnson,
212- 453-2488
NJ Home Page DHSS Home Page

NEW JERSEY CALLS ON DOCTORS AND DENTISTS TO HELP
SMOKERS KICK THE HABIT

TRENTON -- More than 1,000 doctors, dentists and other health care providers have received information kits on two new programs - New Jersey QuitnetSM and New Jersey Quitline - to help their patients quit smoking.

"Actually, Quitters Do Win," is the message on the materials promoting New Jersey Quitnet, an innovative online counseling service, and New Jersey Quitline, a telephone-based counseling and referral service. The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services is asking health care providers to display the information and share these new services with patients.

"With each patient visit, doctors and dentists have an excellent opportunity to encourage smokers to quit. These kits give doctors treatment materials they can use in talking to their patients about quitting smoking," said Governor Christie Whitman.

The Governor noted that it is important for health care providers to raise the topic of smoking cessation. According to the most recent U.S. Surgeon General's report, when physicians advise their patients to quit smoking, five to 10 percent of smokers quit based on that recommendation alone.

Health and Senior Services Commissioner Christine Grant said that more than one in five adults and more than a quarter of high school students in New Jersey are smokers. "Based on our current data, we know that two-thirds of New Jersey smokers want to quit," she added.

Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death and disease in New Jersey. Almost 13,000 New Jersey residents die every year from diseases directly related to smoking.

The Quitline and Quitnet information kits are being distributed to doctors' and dentists'offices around the state, as well as to clinics, HMOs and college and university health services. The kits are also being sent to all state legislators, who are encouraged to help inform their constituents about the quit-smoking services. The kits contain posters, brochures, and tear-off pads with the Quitnet web address and Quitline toll-free number.

On October 26, Governor Whitman launched New Jersey Quitnet (www.nj.quitnet.com) and New Jersey Quitline (1-866-NJ-STOPS) as the first cessation programs to be funded under the Master Settlement Agreement between the tobacco companies and the states.

In the four days following the launch, an estimated 700 New Jerseyans logged on to Quitnet and 140 of them immediately registered for the service. During the same period, 82 people called Quitline and 67 enrolled with phone counselors. The department will continue to collect data on the use of both programs.

The treatment programs are part of New Jersey's Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program, which has a simple and clear goal: To prevent children from starting to smoke and to help all smokers to quit.

New Jersey Quitnet - An Individual Quit-Smoking Plan Just One Click Away

New Jersey Quitnet's online community provides peer support groups and access to trained counselors. Registered New Jersey Quitnet users can access resources such as Quitting Guides to help plan a quitting strategy, referrals to local programs and information about medications that can help end the addiction. Other New Jersey Quitnet services include: e-mailed messages of encouragement, an array of guides, calendars and quitting tips, and peer support forums to maintain one's resolve to stay tobacco free 24 hours a day - 7 days a week.

The Quitnet program was developed as a national model by Boston University's School of Public Health. It broke new ground as a tool capable of providing real-time support to smokers worldwide.

New Jersey Quitline: A Personal Counselor at the Other End of the Telephone Line

For those who prefer to speak directly with a counselor, New Jersey Quitline can be accessed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Trained counselors are available in 26 languages to work with callers to develop comprehensive treatment plans that meet the individual's needs.

During the initial call, a caller gains access to a counselor and treatment can begin immediately. After assessing the caller's needs, tobacco history and stage in the quitting process, counselors develop an individualized treatment and follow-up plan. The initial call takes approximately 30 minutes. Psychological and physical issues are addressed, as well as behavior changes to initiate cessation and prevent smoking relapse. Most counselor services are delivered in the first three months, but may extend up to six months.

Quitline was developed as a national model in accordance with the Mayo Clinic's practice and research, which has become the standard for many medical centers. It has proven effective in helping 34 percent of users become tobacco free after six months.

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