-The New Jersey Department of Health & Senior Services (DHSS)
acting Commissioner George T. DiFerdinando, Jr., MD, MPH, announced
today that New Jersey's Quitline and Quitnetsm,
launched on October 26, 2000, are well on their way to meeting the
expectations set by the Department for helping smokers who want
to quit smoking. Quitline users have achieved a 28 percent quit
rate six months after completing the program. Roughly 39 percent
of Quitnet registrants who responded to a recent survey reported
they were smoke-free six months later. By contrast, those who attempt
to quit on their own traditionally have a 3 to 5 percent success
rate. "These interim figures are certainly promising. We think
these services are really helping people who want to quit smoking,"
Dr. DiFerdinando said.
than 139,000 people logged on to New Jersey Quitnet in the first
program year. Visitors remained for an average of 13 minutes each
visit. The typical Quitline user receives counseling for about three
months before a successful quit. In addition to New Jersey's Quitnet
and Quitline, there are now 15 Quitcenters - personal counseling
clinics - throughout the state. New Jersey is the only state in
the nation to offer the public all three quitting services.
Jersey is one of the most diverse states in the nation, so before
launching our program, we began by studying the smoking habits of
our residents. Research showed us that the people who most want
to quit are between the ages of 34-54, and many said they would
be willing to try no-or low-cost services. In fact, nearly three-quarters
of these smokers said they would like to break the habit, so we
decided to promote the Quit services to this group. Our first year
results show that this approach is working. This target population,
which we are reaching, is the age group with the greatest number
of smokers in New Jersey." said Dr. DiFerdinando.
reach these smokers, DHSS instituted a multifaceted advertising
and public relations campaign, including billboards, bus sides and
newspaper and radio advertising. In September, 2001, the department
expanded on its early efforts to include network television advertising
and :30 radio spots, in both Spanish and English.
the new wave of television and radio commercials hit the air mid-September
2001, visits to NJ Quitnet have increased by 69 percent. In that
same period, calls to NJ Quitline have increased a striking 100
to the services are defined as those willing to share demographic
information, which enables DHSS to follow up with them on their
progress. Many more people successfully use the services, but because
they do not register, the department has no way to track their progress.
Therefore, DHSS will get a truer picture and a better indication
of the program's effort to help smokers quit when we have completed
the analysis of the second Adult Tobacco Survey.
people who need face-to-face counseling in order to succeed, New
Jersey offers 15 Quitcenters in convenient locations across the
state. Fred Jacobs, M.D., J.D., Chairman of NJ Breathes, states,
"New Jersey understands that not all people will respond to
the same approach to quitting. By offering phone, Web and clinic
options, the state is increasing the chances for individual success."
On the one-year anniversary of the program launch, Dr. DiFerdinando
noted, "In the first program year 7,000 smokers have registered
for Quit services and thousands more have obtained valuable information
to help them quit. Much of the groundbreaking work of building awareness
has been accomplished. In the past year, the Department has done
a lot to improve its understanding of young adults' attitudes toward
tobacco use. Second year program goals will include increased efforts
to reach specific population groups including young adults, pregnant
women and smokers in the workplace."
adults are an important group to reach. Since the Master Settlement
Agreement with the tobacco industry, the tobacco companies concentrate
their efforts on this demographic, both because they are the youngest
legal targets for tobacco promotion and because college students
are role models for younger teens. DHSS funded a Rowan University
research team to study attitudes and perceptions about tobacco use
among college students and analyze New Jersey collegiate tobacco
policies. The study revealed most students underestimate the health
effects associated with tobacco and overestimate the numbers of
students who smoke.
women present challenges because of the significant percentage that
return to smoking after giving birth. DHSS plans to reach this population
through a model program initiated by the Southern Perinatal Cooperative
with a grant from DHSS. This program will be replicated in other
parts of the state. In addition, UMDNJ-Newark, with a grant from
DHSS, is training pediatric residents to work with new mothers to
help them stay tobacco free. To reach workers, DHSS funds the American
Cancer Society to operate a workplace outreach program.
funds New Jersey Quitline, Quitnet and Quitcenters with money from
the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) between 46 states and the
tobacco industry. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
recently ranked New Jersey as 11th among the states in committing
a substantial portion of MSA funds for tobacco control programs.
New Jersey's Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program is designed to
reduce the sickness, disability and death among New Jerseyans associated
with the use of tobacco and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.
New Jersey's Quit services won a national award from the Women Executives
in Public Relations Foundation (WEPR) for its unique combination
of services reaching out to all New Jersey smokers.
more information about New Jersey's Quit services, visit http://www.state.nj.us/health/
# # #