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Telephone counseling helps smokers quit tobacco

Requirements for cigarette packaging with graphic photos that include pictures of the oral hazards of smoking and a toll-free quitline number may already be sending more smokers to quitlines, even though the new packaging regulations don’t take affect until September 2012.

New packages to be mandated by the Food and Drug Administration would feature nine photos showing the consequences of lighting up, including a picture of a cancerous lesion on a lip. Packs will also promote the toll free number, 1-800-QUIT-NOW, where callers can access their own state’s quitline.

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune June 29, the American Lung Association noticed a triple-digit rise in the number of calls to some state quitlines in just a few days since the FDA unveiled new pack designs to the public.

The FDA said pictorial warnings and toll-free quitline information give consumers accurate factual evidence of the consequences of smoking and a better chance of success in quitting. The new labels may also be effective tools in preventing young people from lighting up and persuading established smokers to quit.

An encouraging voice on the other end of the phone line can be a key to success in quitting smoking, no matter what or who motivates a smoker to call a quitline, according to a new report published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Researchers in Australia analyzed 24 previous studies of proactive telephone counseling through tobacco quitlines to determine which smokers had greater success—those who were actively referred to call by their physician or through direct mail or phone campaigns or those who called on their own after seeing a poster or television ad.

Scientists found that telephone counseling helped smokers from both groups stop smoking. They found that quitlines had a statistically significantly positive effect on prolonged and continuous abstinence from smoking after 6 to 9 months and 12 to 18 months. offers consumers comprehensive information on quitting tobacco, from tobacco’s affects on oral health, cancer risks and tips on how to quit, including a link to, the website that can link interested users to a quitline and other tools to stop smoking.

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