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Help to quit smoking just a text away

RALEIGH — New Year’s resolutions can be difficult to keep — especially if your goal is to quit smoking.
But with help from the NC Health and Wellness Trust Fund (HWTF) and its phone-based tobacco cessation service QuitlineNC, North Carolinians will have additional support at their fingertips with the first statewide mobile campaign aimed to help North Carolina smokers quit for good.
Starting today, participants who text “COACH” to 44264, will receive cessation advice via their mobile phones. The text messages will provide some of the “quit tips” that one would get from a Quit Coach at QuitlineNC.
“QuitlineNC has proven to be an effective tool in helping North Carolinians stop smoking,” said Dr. Laura Gerald, executive director of the NC Health and Wellness Trust Fund.
“New technologies allow us to give people a chance to see the kind of sound advice QuitlineNC offers through a simple process — texting.”
More than 27,000 North Carolinians have called QuitlineNC at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for support in navigating the rough waters of smoking cessation. Now, the helpful tips of a Quit Coach remind texters that quitting smoking is possible and offer up advice that is tailored according to the texter’s responses to a few questions.
Text messages will be sent over a seven-week period and will provide information as well as encouragement to quit smoking.
Texting has become a central form of communication, especially for young adults, and people who may be reluctant to call QuitlineNC may be willing to opt in for the text messages.
With a better understanding of the kinds of things they might hear if they were to speak with a Quit Coach, they may eventually follow up the texts with a call to QuitlineNC where help from coaches can double their chances of successfully quitting.
First launched as a pilot program in Wake County in May 2010, 741 people opted in to receive the text messages. QuitlineNC’s call volume was also affected by the text campaign, increasing 40 percent in Wake County during the month of the campaign.
The success of the pilot mobile campaign prompted HWTF’s leaders to extend the program statewide. Radio spots to promote QuitlineNC’s text campaign will begin airing statewide today and will run for three weeks.
For more information about QuitlineNC, please visit http://www.quitlinenc.com.
The NC Health and Wellness Trust Fund was created by the General Assembly in 2000 to allocate a portion of North Carolina’s share of the national tobacco settlement. HWTF has invested $199 million to support preventive health initiatives and $116 million to fund prescription drug assistance programs. For more information, please visit www.HealthWellNC.com.

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