by Taylor Summers/KTAR
PHOENIX — One of the more popular New Year’s resolutions every year comes from smokers hoping to kick the habit.
The Maricopa County Health Department wants to help make that easier. To do so, the department is working with the quit smoking hotline, Ashline.
“Most of [Ashline’s] coaches are ex-smokers,” Wayne Tormala, chief of the Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease, said. “They offer a lot of tailored coaching.”
What smokers might not know is if they are using the state Medicaid program, AHCCCS, they can actually get 12 free weeks of nicotine gum, patches, or medications. The hope is that the money used from AHCCCS for this will be an investment to prevent a larger cost burden in the future.
“The cost burden of smokers in Arizona has been estimated by the Department of Health and Human Services to be over $3 billion a year,” Tormala said. “When someone spends about $6-8 bucks on cigarettes, it’s costing the state about $40.”
Tormala says the combination of those nicotine medications and support from Ashline can churn out a 50 percent success rate when helping smokers quit, a far cry from the three percent found in those who quit cold turkey.
To speak with Ashline, call 1-800-55-66-222.