Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about 1-800-QUIT-NOW and the National Network of Tobacco Cessation Quitlines
1. What is a tobacco quitline?
Quitlines are telephone-based tobacco cessation services, available at no cost to US residents in each state, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Quitlines help tobacco users quit through a variety of service offerings including individual counseling, practical information on how to quit, referral to other cessation resources, mailed self-help materials, information on FDA-approved cessation medications, and, in some cases, free or discounted cessation medications. Click here to learn more about quitlines.
2. What is 1-800-QUIT-NOW?
1-800-QUIT-NOW is a toll-free number operated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that will connect you directly to your state’s tobacco quitline. The number serves as a national portal to link callers to their state quitline based on their area code. The number services all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico. 1-800-QUIT-NOW provides US residents an easily understood and memorable number to call for telephone cessation assistance from anywhere in the US and U.S Territories and Pacific Islands. It also allows for national promotion of quitlines using a single telephone number. 1-800-QUITNOW was established by the NCI in November 2004 as part of a US Department of Health and Human Services cessation initiative, the National Network of Tobacco Cessation Quitlines.
3. What is the National Network of Tobacco Cessation Quitlines and how is it funded?
The Network was created in 2004 as part of a US Department of Health and Human Services cessation initiative that also included CDC funding for states to develop or improve their quitline services. The Network is a partnership between the NCI and CDC. NCI manages and supports the telecommunication costs associated with 1-800-QUIT-NOW. CDC provides funding to state quitlines as part of its National Tobacco Control Program as well as funding opportunity announcements specific to quitlines. Many states allocate additional state funds to support their quitlines. CDC also provides funding to the North American Quitline Consortium (NAQC) to offer a forum for stakeholders to share information on quitline issues and best practices.
4. Are national toll-free quitline resources available for callers who speak other languages?
Yes. CDC recognizes the importance of providing a link to quitlines for US residents who would prefer to receive support in languages other than English. Based on the California Smokers’ Helpline’s previous experience serving callers who speak Asian languages, the CDC provided additional funding to California beginning in 2012 to extend these services nationwide. The Asian Smokers’ Quitline (ASQ) has been serving Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese (CKV)-speaking populations on a national basis since October 2012. In 2015, CDC switched to funding this service directly through a cooperative agreement with UC San Diego. Click here to learn more about the Asian Smokers’ Quitline. In 2013, CDC worked with NCI to create 1-855-DEJELO-YA (“quit now”), a toll-free number which links Spanish-speaking callers to Spanish-language services from their state quitlines.
5. What services do state quitlines offer?
State quitlines provide a variety of services, including brief advice about quitting, individual counseling, information on cessation medications (which can help callers decide whether to use cessation medications in their quit attempt and which medications to use, as well as helping them understand how to use these medications correctly), free or discounted medications, self-help materials, and referrals to other cessation resources. Services usually are provided by a contractor, which can be a public or private organization. The specific services provided vary by state and callers’ eligibility. Click here for a map describing the quitline services in each state.
6. How many tobacco users call state tobacco quitlines for help quitting?
Quitline reach varies by state. Overall, quitlines reach less than 5% of smokers on average (Schauer, Malarcher, Zhang, Engstrom, Zhu, 2013). This limited reach is largely a result of limited state funding to provide and promote quitline services. CDC recommends that state quitlines reach 8%–13% of the state’s smokers (CDC, 2014), levels that have been achieved by a few state quitlines during periods when these states funded quitline services and promotion at higher levels. Click here to see CDC’s State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System (STATE) reports on current and historical state quitline call volume and on the number of tobacco users who receive services through the quitline. These data reflect both calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW and calls to other quitline telephone numbers in addition to 1-800-QUIT-NOW that individual states use and promote.
7. What is CDC’s role in supporting quitlines as a tobacco cessation intervention?
In addition to providing some financial support for state quitlines (as described in question 4), CDC supports and promotes quitlines in the following ways:
- Through the Tips from Former Smokers National Tobacco Education Campaign (Tips): The Tips campaign is a national, paid media tobacco education campaign that is intended to motivate adult smokers to quit. 1-800-QUIT-NOW is one of the major cessation resources featured in the Tips campaign. Click here to learn more about the Tips campaign.
- Through ongoing quitline surveillance and evaluation: CDC monitors awareness and use of state quitlines and evaluates the effect of the Tips campaign on quitline use. In addition, CDC established the National Quitline Data Warehouse (NQDW) to assist in the evaluation of CDC-funded state and territorial quitlines, and to provide a resource to states for ongoing quitline evaluation and improvement. Click here to learn more about the NQDW.