Tobacco users hoping to quit are being offered extra help from the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services.

Since its inception in 2003, the Michigan Tobacco Quitline has received over 100,000 calls from residents hoping to break their addiction to nicotine. Now, through May 31st, they are expanding their services to better help those wanting to quit smoking or chewing tobacco. During this time, new enrollees to the nicotine replacement therapy program will be offered a free 2-week supply of nicotine gum, patches, or lozenges. While the Quitline will help callers of all ages, those seeking to enter this program must be at least 18 years of age and meet basic health requirements. Upon signing up, they will be assigned a coach to help them kick their habit.

Michigan Department of Health & Human Services Spokeswoman Lynn Suftin said that quitting isn’t easy and that this extra help can make a big difference. She said that smokers who use the Quitline and accept their assistance and coaching increase their chances of success by about 5 times over that of trying to quit “cold turkey.”

The coach will call the enrollee up to 4 times and offer encouragement and support. They can answer questions, give a little education, and even provide a bit of monitoring. If they see things aren’t going well, the coach can also provide the enrollee with other avenues to help them quit. The Michigan Tobacco Quitline offers around-the-clock with English, Arabic, and Spanish-speaking counselors. Interpretive services for other languages are also available. It can be reached by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW. More information is also available online through the link below. (MK)