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FREE NICOTINE PATCHES, GUM, OR LOZENGES AVAILABLE THROUGH OKLAHOMA TOBACCO HELPLINE
OKLAHOMA CITY (June 8, 2006) - In observance of Father's Day and to focus attention on encouraging men to quit tobacco, free nicotine replacement products are being offered for the first time ever to all qualified Oklahomans who call the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). Starting today, the products are available to both men and women while supplies last.
The free "starter kit" contains a two-week supply of nicotine patches, gum or lozenges, depending on each caller's needs, to help callers jump-start their quit attempt. In combination with the free phone-based coaching available through the Helpline, these products greatly increase the chances that a tobacco user will successfully quit.
"We're very excited to make this free offer to help Oklahomans celebrate Father's Day in a healthy way," said Tracey Strader, executive director of the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust. "Studies have shown that kids whose parents use tobacco are much more likely to become tobacco users. Father's Day is all about families, and there's no better way to say 'I love you?' than to quit for your health and the health of your family."
"Most Oklahomans who smoke want to completely quit smoking," said State Health Commissioner Dr. Mike Crutcher, "but the addiction to nicotine is strong. Now every Oklahoman who wants to quit using tobacco products has access to some of the most effective help available."
The Father's Day program focuses on encouraging men to quit tobacco because:
• Men who smoke increase their risk of death from lung cancer by more than 22 times, and from bronchitis and emphysema by nearly 10 times. In Oklahoma, two-thirds (67 percent) of all tobacco-caused cancer disease deaths are among men.
"Although program funds are not sufficient to provide a standard eight weeks of nicotine replacement therapy for all callers," said Strader, "we hope the starter kits will encourage them to take the first step in a successful quit attempt and to complete their treatment with products obtained through their health insurance or with the money saved by not purchasing tobacco products."
Launched in September 2003, the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline is supported by earnings from the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust and state tobacco tax funds made available through the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
Professional Quit Coaches work with Helpline callers to develop a quit plan tailored to their individual needs. Up to four follow-up calls with a Quit Coach are also provided free of charge. The Helpline's hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week, and staff will return any messages left after hours. Services are also available in Spanish by calling 1-800-793-1552. For more information on the Helpline, please see: Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline's web page.