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Record Number of Louisianans Trying to Kick the Habit

Sep. 17, 2015

Quitline and Smoking Cessation Trust enroll approximately 2,700 residents, all-time high call volume in July 2015

New Orleans, La. – Sept. 17, 2015 – A record number of Louisiana residents are using free services to help them kick the habit of tobacco use for good. In July 2015, approximately 2,700 Louisianans contacted several state-wide free quit services. At least 996 residents called 1-800-QUIT-NOW and the Smoking Cessation Trust added 2,379 enrollees; marking the highest ever monthly utilization of both of these services.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals’ Well-Ahead Louisiana initiative partners with the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free (TFL) Living and the Smoking Cessation Trust to end smoking and smokeless tobacco use in Louisiana. In 2009, DHH and TFL took over operations of the state Quitline and together launched the Quit with Us, LA (QWULA) website in 2008.

QWULA operates a toll-free phone number (1-800-QUIT-NOW) and a website (www.quitwithusla.org), both of which provide quit coaches, quit plans and medications at no charge to Louisianans looking to quit tobacco. The Quitline works hand in hand with the Smoking Cessation Trust, which began operation in 2012. The Trust also offers free medications, nicotine replacement therapy, group and individual counseling and coaching to help Louisiana residents who started smoking prior to September 1, 1988, to quit.

“This partnership is determined to provide the best services and resources that encourage and support Louisianans to quit tobacco. The recent increase in enrollment in these programs demonstrates the success of our combined efforts,” said DHH Assistant Secretary for Public Health J.T. Lane. “We continue to convey a strong message about the cessation of all tobacco products, not just cigarettes. Both the Quitline and the Smoking Cessation Trust promote cessation in any stage of tobacco use to prolong life and avert the burden of disease and death caused by tobacco use.”

“Louisiana has seen a lot of influential news and legislation regarding tobacco control recently that has demonstrated the need for free quit-smoking services like QWULA and the Trust,” said Alex Hurst, Cessation Manager for TFL. “Residents appear to be recognizing the costs of utilizing tobacco products for both health and financial reasons due to the influx of local smoke-free ordinances across the state, the TIPS Campaign and the recently increased cigarette tax. We’re proud to be able to aid those who are seeking to quit and hope to be able to continue providing these free services in tandem with Well-Ahead and the Smoking Cessation Trust to create a healthier way of life for all Louisianans.”

​“Our experience reflects that people tend to take advantage of the opportunity to quit when smoke-free ordinances go into effect. Whether in bars and restaurants, in the workplace, or across a city or parish, I believe people find the inspiration to try to quit once others around them start quitting,” said Mike Rogers, CEO of Smoking Cessation Trust Management Services, L3C. “Another factor we believe contributed to the uptick in registration is the recent increase in the state’s cigarette tax. The American Lung Association says that for every 10% increase in the price of cigarettes, consumption will fall by 4 percent among adults and about 7 percent among youth. If true, then Louisiana should see about a 4 percent decrease in smoking rates over the next year. That’s a lot of smokers who will improve their chances of quitting for good by utilizing these free services.​”

About Quit with Us, Louisiana

Quit with Us, Louisiana is a partnership of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Well-Ahead campaign and The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL). The two organizations coordinate their efforts in tobacco prevention and control by providing statewide coordination of existing, evidence-based tobacco control initiatives; funding innovative community programs for tobacco control; offering services for people who are ready to quit; and developing statewide media campaigns to help reduce the excessive burden of tobacco use on the State’s resources and improve the overall health and quality of life in Louisiana. For more information, visit www.QuitWithUsLA.org or www.tobaccofreeliving.org.

About Well-Ahead Louisiana:

Well-Ahead Louisiana is an initiative of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals that helps improve the health and wellness of Louisiana residents. Well-Ahead promotes and recognizes smart choices in the everyday spaces and places in which we live and work that make it easier for us to live healthier lives, from going tobacco-free, to choosing healthy lunch options and to supporting workplace fitness programs. WellSpots are organizations or companies that have made small, sustainable changes, including going 100-percent tobacco free. For more information visit, www.wellaheadla.com, email us at WellAhead@la.gov or call us at (225) 342-5049.

About the Smoking Cessation Trust:

The Smoking Cessation Trust is the result of a court judgment in a 14-year-old class action lawsuit entitled Scott v. American Tobacco Company. The judgment became final in 2011 and ordered certain tobacco companies to fund a statewide, 10-year smoking cessation program to benefit more than 210,000 Louisiana smokers who are members of the plaintiff class (the "Scott Class"). The recipient of the award was a court-established and court-supervised smoking cessation program to benefit all Louisiana residents who began smoking cigarettes before September 1, 1988. For information or to register online with the Smoking Cessation Trust, visit www.SmokeFreeLA.org or call (504) 529-5665 or toll-free at (855) 259-6346.