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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 31, 2015

DHEC to help tobacco users quit for keeps with free nicotine replacement therapy products

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Starting Jan. 1, 2016, free nicotine replacement gum, patches and lozenges will be available for callers who enroll for services through the S.C. Tobacco Quitline while supplies last, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control announced today. 

The new year is a great time to quit tobacco use, and South Carolinians enrolling for services through the Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) will be eligible for free FDA-approved nicotine replacement products regardless of insurance status or health plan cessation coverage. Available products include gum, patches, lozenges, or a combination tailored to meet individual needs. Using these products as directed can double the chance of quitting tobacco successfully.  

In addition, DHEC expanded services to the S.C. Tobacco Quitline, to include online enrollment and around-the-clock hours, both starting at 7 a.m. on Jan. 1. Once registered, individuals can take advantage of one-on-one support from a trained Quit Coach, a personalized treatment plan, a Quit Kit, features like text message support and cessation apps, and services in Spanish (also accessed by calling 1-855-DEJELO-YA).  When cravings hit, participants can speak to a Quit Coach at any time of the day or night - 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

"Online enrollment and open hours make it easier to register and get help at your convenience," said Katy Wynne, DHEC's Quitline manager. "Providing medically appropriate nicotine replacement products opens up access for all enrolled participants to get a starter kit of nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges."  

The S.C. Tobacco Quitline is a free behavioral counseling service that helps the state's tobacco users quit for keeps.  Almost 90,000 South Carolinians have called the S. C. Tobacco Quitline since it began in 2006.  Smoking costs the state more than $2 billion in annual health care costs. An estimated 19 percent of South Carolinians currently smoke cigarettes, 6.2 percent use electronic cigarettes, and 4.1 percent use both.     

To quit for keeps call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or enroll online at  www.scdhec.gov/quitforkeeps.  

For services in Spanish call 1-855-DEJELO-YA or visitwww.espanol.smokefree.gov.

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Mary-Kathryn Craft
craftmk@dhec.sc.gov
803.898.7769