Office Of The Governor -- News Release

PO BOX 004TRENTON, NJ 08625
CONTACTS: Pete McDonoughRELEASE: Immediate
Jayne O'Connor, 609-777-2600
DHSS - Rita Manno, 609-984-7160

Quitters Do Win
New Jersey's QuitnetSM & Quitline Help Students Quit Butts

Governor Whitman Challenges New Jersey's Young Adults to Try These New Services

Newark, NJ Oct. 26, 2000 - Governor Christie Whitman and Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Commissioner Christine Grant today unveiled two free services to help smokers kick the tobacco habit - New Jersey Quitline, a telephone hotline, and New Jersey QuitnetSM, an innovative online smoking cessation program.

At a press event at Rutgers University's Newark campus, the Governor also issued a challenge to college-age smokers to "quit butts" by the Great American Smokeout on November 16. Five students who took part in a two-week pre-launch trial of New Jersey's Quitnet and Quitline are lending encouragement to fellow students by sharing their experiences.

"Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death and disease in New Jersey," stated Governor Whitman. "As a mother of two young adults, I am concerned about the long-term health risks tobacco imposes on young people, and I am committed to using New Jersey's Master Settlement Agreement funds to reduce these risks and stop this alarming trend."

New Jersey's Quitnet and Quitline are the first treatment initiatives New Jersey is undertaking with the funds received from the Master Settlement Agreement with the tobacco companies.

New Jersey Quitnet (www.nj.quitnet.com) is an innovative online resource that provides a comprehensive, individually tailored smoking cessation plan. New Jersey Quitline is a hotline offering personal counseling to New Jersey residents at 1-866 NJ-STOPS (1-866-657-8677) six days a week. The services are open to all age groups. With New Jersey Quitnet, the Department of Health and Senior Services is particularly targeting young adult smokers, who are comfortable using Internet-based services

Smoking among 18- to 24-year-olds is on the rise nationwide, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In New Jersey, the number of smokers in this age group increased by six percent between 1998 and 1999, according to New Jersey's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System figures.

The Governor and Commissioner introduced the services and issued their student challenge today at Rutgers Newark campus, and Commissioner Grant repeated the announcement to students in southern New Jersey at Rowan University.

New Jersey Quitnet - An Individual Quit-Smoking Plan Just One Click Away

New Jersey Quitnet's online community provides peer support groups and access to trained counselors. Registered New Jersey Quitnet users can access resources such as Quitting Guides to help plan a quitting strategy, referrals to local programs and information about medications that can help end the addiction. Other New Jersey Quitnet services include: e-mailed messages of encouragement, an array of guides, calendars and quitting tips, and peer support forums to maintain one's resolve to stay tobacco free 24 hours a day - 7 days a week.

"It's very user-friendly. I feel there's a big family of people in various stages of quitting, and New Jersey Quitnet doesn't just provide a service, it allows you to interact with other people. I find that very helpful," observed Kim Lutter, a senior at Rutgers who tried the service.

The Quitnet program was developed as a national model by Boston University's School of Public Health. It broke new ground as a tool capable of providing real-time support to smokers worldwide.

Quitline: A Personal Counselor at the Other End of the Telephone Line

For those who prefer to speak directly with a counselor, New Jersey Quitline can be accessed Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Trained counselors are available in 26 languages to work with callers to develop comprehensive treatment plans that meet the individual's needs.

"I'd rather talk to a 'real person' than go online for support. New Jersey Quitline counselors helped me develop a realistic plan," noted Adebayo Browne, a computer science major at Rutgers.

During the initial call, a caller gains access to a counselor and treatment can begin immediately. After assessing the caller's needs, tobacco history and stage in the quitting process, counselors develop an individualized treatment and follow-up plan. The initial call takes approximately 30 minutes. Psychological and physical issues are addressed, as well as behavior changes to initiate cessation and prevent smoking relapse. Most counselor services are delivered in the first three months, but may extend up to six months.

Quitline was developed as a national model in accordance with the Mayo Clinic's practice and research, which has become the standard for many medical centers. It has proven effective in helping 34 percent of users become tobacco free after six months.

"We have gathered new data on smoking in the state revealing that two out of three New Jersey smokers overwhelmingly want to quit," noted Commissioner Grant, "and the greatest interest in quitting comes from these young smokers. Seventy-four percent say they want to quit.

We understand how difficult it can be to succeed and we believe New Jersey's Quitnet and Quitline offer the kinds of hands-on tools, tailored to the individual's needs that can help New Jerseyans free themselves from tobacco for good."

Rutgers and Rowan Pick up the Governor's Challenge

Students at Rutgers University Newark Campus and Rowan University are accepting the Governor and Commissioner's challenge to promote use of these new services on campus to help reduce smoking among fellow students.

"The students at Rutgers are eager to design and launch a campaign to spread the word about New Jersey Quitnet and New Jersey Quitline. We need to encourage smokers to try and stop before it's too late," noted Sean Kelly, President of the Student Body Association.

"New Jersey's Quitnet and Quitline are available for tobacco users of all ages throughout the state," said Commissioner Grant. "Listen for ads on the radio, look for billboards and bus ads, as well."

New Jersey Quitnet and New Jersey Quitline are funded under the Master Settlement Agreement between the states and tobacco companies. They are just two components of New Jersey's Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program, which is designed to reduce the sickness, disability and death among New Jerseyans associated with the use of tobacco and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.

Quitline Questions and Answers Quitnet Questions and Answers