Real Stories: A New Approach for ASHLine

Just in Time for The Great American Smokeout

Arizona Smokers' HelplineSmokers are tired of being told the harmful effects of smoking. Everyone knows its bad for you. It takes between 8-10 attempts at quitting before people can stay quit.

This year the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline (ASHLine) is taking a new approach to letting Arizonans know about its free quit tobacco services—hearing from real people. Not necessarily real people who have quit. Not all “success” stories. There are some of those on, but moreover, the new campaign features real people, real smokers, sharing their thoughts in letters titled “Dear Me.”

This is not new information about smoking. Tobacco use is still the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S. In fact, 400,000 people die every year from tobacco-related illness. Last year, 170,000 Arizonans quit tobacco for good. But, still nearly 800,000 Arizonans are regular smokers.

“The approach is very important at this stage,” says Arizona Smokers’ Helpline Director Stephen Michael. “Empathy is important. Many of the folks we talk to at the ASHLine have tried before.” The Arizona Smokers’ Helpline offers free quit coaching, access to free nicotine replacement therapies, and online quit assistance through its WebQuit program at

“We can help,” Michael says. “It is our job to help.”

Every year the American Cancer Society sponsors The Great American Smokeout to encourage tobacco users to quit for just one day. The annual event challenges smokers to start the quit process by joining thousands of other Americans in quitting for the day. This year’s event is scheduled for Thursday, November 19.

“We can help turn quitting for a day into quitting for good,” Michael adds. Last year, 2.3 million smokers quit for the entire day.1

The Arizona Smokers’ Helpline offers free quit coaching at 1-800-55-66-222 (English and Spanish) and online quit assistance through its WebQuit program at

“This year, more than ever, I urge smokers to join The Great American Smokeout,” said Wayne Tormala, Bureau Chief for the Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease at the Arizona Department of Health Services. “Regardless of your motivation, this is a golden opportunity for you to join a powerful local and national movement for positive lifestyle change.”

Real Stories media release

1Source: American Cancer Society media release

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