Maricopa County smokers trying to quit can get free help for 12 weeks

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.

One Response to Maricopa County smokers trying to quit can get free help for 12 weeks

  1. Marty Eckrem says:

    I guess I don’t understand why this article didn’t mention that all Arizona Medicaid residents are eligible for the 12 weeks of free nicotine replacement.

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