November 17th is the Great American Smokeout

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   

Contact: Mary Ehlert, (Cell) 602-540-6897 or Mary.Ehlert@azdhs.gov

The Arizona Smokers’ Helpline Launches Into New Media with its Facebook App

 “Call It Quits” App is New Tool Revealed in Time for Great American Smokeout, Nov. 17

PHOENIX (Nov. 14, 2011)— This month the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline expands its arsenal of resources to help smokers quit tobacco with the addition of the Call It Quits app which debuts on Facebook but will be introduced as an iPhone app later this year. Its introduction helps mark the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout which is Thursday, Nov. 17.

The app features are rooted in proven strategies that help smokers quit. Call It Quits fuses ASHLine’s personalized approach to quit coaching with useful and engaging technology. On Nov. 17 it will be accessible on the ASHLine Facebook page. In addition people who want to be among the first to learn about the iPhone app can sign up at www.CallItQuitsApp.com.

“Our new Call It Quits app transports our services into new media and broadens our reach. Starting in Facebook makes sense knowing that smokers can benefit from the support of their established social networks,” said Stephen Michael, director of the ASHLine. “The new app will keep track of goals, shares accomplishments via ‘badges,’ creates support groups and more.”

“Overcoming tobacco addiction is a constant struggle, whether a smoker is making a first attempt to quit, has stopped smoking for a month or has been quit for years,” said Wayne Tormala, Arizona Department of Health Services Bureau Chief for Tobacco and Chronic Disease.   “The Call It Quits app on Facebook is another tool that smokers can enlist in their battle against tobacco use.”

Arizonans who access the new Call It Quits Facebook app will have access to a combination of tools. First, because a circle of support plays a critical role for smokers, people can set up their support group who they can instantly message when they need encouragement. There’s a section focused on cravings, which is important because the average smoker has multiple cravings a day that last between 30 to 90 seconds. There is also a feature that logs goals, rewards and progress.  The person can accumulate stars for their achieved goals and earn ‘badges’ which in turn can be instantly shared with their community of Facebook friends.

While 70 percent of smokers will make a quit attempt in their lifetime, fewer than five percent who try to quit on their own stay quit for six to 12 months.  Most smokers will quit eight to 12 times before staying quit for good.

In Arizona, where smoking rates are among the lowest in the nation, 16 percent compared to 20 percent nationally, people who still smoke are considered the most addicted. New tools like the Call It Quits app expand the services and tools available to the state’s smokers, among them the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline, which has been helping Arizonans quit for more than 15 years, and has a nearly 40 percent quit rate at six months.

Great American Smokeout is one day annually when smokers are encouraged to make quit for a day. Whatever the choice, the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline offers free telephone quit coaching at 1-800-55-66-222 and free online quit coaching services via WebQuit™ at www.ASHLine.org.

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About Arizona Smokers’ Helpline

Funded by the state tax on tobacco products through the Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease at the Arizona Department of Health Services, the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline and ASHLine.org have been helping people quit tobacco since 1995. Free telephone and web-based quit services are provided as well as free training and technical assistance to healthcare providers statewide. For information about quit smoking services around the state, call 1-800-55-66-222 or visit www.ASHLine.org.

About Wayne Tormala

Dedicating his entire career to human service, Wayne has provided leadership at the local, national and global levels in programs addressing issues of public health, mental illness, the environment, world hunger, poverty, and economic justice. Currently, he is the Bureau Chief for the Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease at the Arizona Department of Health Services where he oversees all aspects of tobacco prevention/cessation programming and the prevention/management of chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, lung disease, stroke, asthma and diabetes.

About Stephen Michael

Stephen S. Michael, MS, Director of the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline (ASHLine) at the University of Arizona Zuckerman College of Public Health. Mr. Michael holds a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, with a focus in substance abuse and has over 20 years of experience in behavioral health settings. He is recognized nationally as an authority on tobacco quitlines.

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