Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about 1-800-QUIT-NOW and the National Network of Tobacco Cessation Quitlines

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. For more information about quitlines, see [https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/quit_smoking/cessation/faq-about-1-800-quit-now/index.html].

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.

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.

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. To learn more about ASQ, visit ASQ’s website [https://www.asiansmokersquitline.org/external icon]. 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.

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. To learn more about the quitline services that are available in your state, visit the North American Quitline Consortium quitline map [http://map.naquitline.org/external icon] and click on your state.

Quitline reach varies by state. State quitlines reach an average of 1% of smokers annually. 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, levels that have been achieved by a few state quitlines during periods when these states funded quitline services and promotion at higher levels. You can find information on state quitlines’ call volume and the number of tobacco users they serve in the CDC’s State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation System [https://www.cdc.gov/statesystem/quitline.html]. These data reflect both calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW and calls to additional quitline telephone numbers that some states use and promote.

In addition to providing some financial support for state quitlines (as described in question 4), CDC supports and promotes quitlines in the following ways:

  1. 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. For more information about the Tips campaign, visit campaign’s website [https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/index.html].
  2. 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. More information about the NQDW is available at [https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/quit_smoking/cessation/nqdw/index.htm].