Helpline Celebrates 20 Years of Helping Smokers Quit

Smokers' Helpline

On October 30, Shu-Hong Zhu, PhD, main specialist for the California Smokers’ Helpline celebrated the Helpline’s 20th anniversary. In 1992, the Helpline, as well well-known as 1-800-N0-BUTTS, started to be the first in the USA to provide free, telephone-based services for smokers looking for to smoking cessation programs. The Helpline has functioned as a example for identical services that are today offered in all 50 states.

“In the course of two decades, the California Smokers’ Helpline has made it possible for smokers across California to take charge of their health and quit smoking,” said Zhu. “It has been a long way in lowering the number of smoking people in the state. California has the second-lowest rate in the USA, but there is more work to do. This is a verified service that increases people’s possibilities of successfully giving up smoking, and the service wants to ensure people know about it.”

At the moment, there are around 3.6 million smoking people in the state. The estimated cost of smoking in California is almost $16 billion yearly, more than $3,000 per smoker per year.

Since its launch in August 1992, the California Smokers’ Helpline has offered ree, personalized and confidential assistance to more than 600,000 Californians from various towns in California. Smoking cessation services are offered in English (800-NO-BUTTS), Korean (800-556-5564), Mandarin and Cantonese (800-838-8917), Spanish (800-45-NO-FUME), Vietnamese (800-778-8440).

“The fact that so many smokers have telephoned for assistance demonstrates how badly people want to give up smoking,” said Christopher Anderson, program director for the Helpline. “It seems that if people who are still smokers, in spite of all the data about harmful health effects, they do not want to stop smoking.  However, usually, they just do not know how to start it or don’t feel assured in their ability to quit smoking. The service helps them made a plan and keep to it.”

A free tip list for smokers, Top 10 Tips to Help Smokers Quit, is offered in Helpline consultants who offer their top 10 tips for giving up smoking successfully. “Smoking cessation can feel like a difficult task,” said Dr. Gary Tedeschi, clinical director of the Helpline. “If you fall it apart into smaller steps it starts to appear more achievable.” The tip list is offered in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

Media materials are as well presented, including: Twenty Years of Calls to the California Smokers’ Helpline, California Smokers’ Helpline Success Stories, and Quotes from California Smokers’ Helpline Counselors.

The Helpline is financed by the California Department of Public Health and by First 5 California.

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