Launched in August of 2003, the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline is a free telephone service provided by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust and the Centers for Disease Control. It is designed to help Oklahoma residents end their addiction to tobacco in its various forms, and each year, the program assists over 100,000 callers. Considering Oklahoma still has an estimated 600,000 smokers, a percentage well above the national average, there is much work to be done, But the Helpline is making great progress.
Here are some frequently asked questions about the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline, including information on how to get free nicotine patches or gum.
How does it work?:
Once you call the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline and commit to quitting, you are assigned a "quit coach." Program officials emphasize that nobody will be lectured or judged; instead, its focus is on positive support. The trained "quit coach" counselor will help you:
- Set a date to quit and prepare for it
- Construct a plan of dealing with cravings and temptations
- Utilize an interactive website's personal tracking tools and support services
- Practice skills necessary to cope with quitting
- Gain vital support from people you trust
Even if you're not ready to quit yet, counselors can give you advice and information on areas such as how much money you could save by cutting out cigarettes or dipping tobacco.
Is this all done in one phone call?:
Really, it just depends on the individual caller. Some only need one call while others check in with their "quit coach" many times until they've succeeded in ending their tobacco addiction completely. Phone calls are easy, convenient and can be done from one's own home, making the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline a very effective service for motivated tobacco users.
Are medications and nicotine replacements available?:
Yes. A caller's "quit coach" may determine if medications such as the nicotine patch, nicotine gum and/or nicotine lozenges are necessary. They are then mailed out and typically arrive within 10-14 days. The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline provides such medications free as a two week starter pack. Beyond that, the price for nicotine replacements may depend on a caller's insurance coverage.
How successful is it?:
According to Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline officials, the service's success rate is about 35 percent, compared to an estimated 5 percent for tobacco users trying to stop without assistance. If you're motivated to quit smoking or stop using tobacco, it's clear you stand a significantly improved chance with the help of the service.
So how do I call the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline?:
The number for the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline is (800) QUIT-NOW (784-8669) or en Español at (800) 793-1552. The Helpline is available 24 hours a day, and you can also register for services online at okhelpline.com.