Washington State Quitline: 20 years helping Washingtonians break free from tobacco

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

OLYMPIA -- The Washington State Department of Health Quitline has provided free, personalized tobacco cessation counseling and medication to tens of thousands of callers.

In 2020, the North American Quitline Consortium ranked Washington’s quitline second in the nation for its participant quit rate.

It is more important than ever to reduce tobacco use and vaping because they increase the risk of developing serious health complications from viral infections, including COVID-19.

The quitline helps meet the needs of distinct groups, such as teens who vape and pregnant women who smoke, by counseling them on ways to beat nicotine addiction. Counseling is available in more than 240 languages, and participants can also get text- and web-based support.

An evaluation of 2018-19 quitline services estimated that nearly 35 percent of participants quit tobacco within seven months of registering. And, for every dollar spent on services, Washington saved five dollars in lost productivity, medical, and other costs.

Still, Washington spends more than $2.8 billion on annual health care related to smoking. About 8,300 Washington adults die each year from smoking, with a disproportionately high burden on minorities and people who receive low wages.

As of 2019, 13 percent of adults in Washington smoked cigarettes. Nationally, tobacco use is still the leading preventable cause of disease and death.

To get help quitting cigarettes, vaping or any tobacco product, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or text READY to 200-400. Health care providers can refer patients online at quitline.com


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