“Smoking is one of the most serious health issues facing the health of Kentucky,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “Making sure young people don’t smoke – and are getting the help they need to quit smoking while they are young – is imperative to improving the health of Kentucky. Providing Quit Line counseling to teens is definitely a step in the right direction.”
The Quit Line is now offering counseling services to Kentucky youth ages 15 to 17 years old. Prior to this change, services were available to people 18 and older.
“We’re excited to offer Quit Line services to more Kentuckians and to increase the number of options available for young people who want to quit tobacco use,” said William Hacker, M.D., commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH). “Studies show that people have more success quitting smoking when they have access to resources like counseling and peer support. We hope this change will encourage young people who are interested in quitting to take action and start leading healthier, tobacco-free lives.”
Data from the Kentucky Youth Tobacco Survey 2010 shows that almost 25 percent of high school students are cigarette smokers and almost 70 percent of teenage smokers want to quit. Nationwide, approximately 30 percent of high school students and 10 percent of middle school students are cigarette smokers.
Although the prevalence of smoking among youth has declined in the past few years, the smoking prevalence among teenagers and young adults is higher than among other adult populations.
“Addressing the prevalence of teen smoking in Kentucky is a critical issue because statistics show that more than 80 percent of adult smokers became regular smokers before age 18,” said Irene Centers, coordinator for the DPH tobacco prevention and cessation program. “It’s imperative that we not only prevent young people from ever using cigarettes and tobacco products, but also that we offer assistance to help them give up tobacco.”
Kentucky’s Tobacco Quit Line is a free, telephone-based tobacco cessation service that offers:
* One-on-one proactive counseling for tobacco users who are ready to quit.
* Support for people who want to stop smoking or using other tobacco products.
* Information on tobacco dependence for health care professionals.
* Information about local resources to help tobacco users quit.
The Quit Line, 1-800-QUIT NOW, is available to anyone in Kentucky age 15 and older who wants to break his or her addiction to tobacco. Services are available in English and Spanish at the time of the call. Counseling in other languages is available free through a third party translation service. For individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, TDY/TDD is available at (800) 969-1393.
Callers to Kentucky’s Tobacco Quit Line speak with coaches trained to assist them with quitting. Coaches have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent and are trained in behavioral modification and motivational interviewing.
If employers want to help their employees quit, information is available through the Quit Line and local health departments. Group sessions and cessation materials can be made available at the worksite.