OCT. 20, 2005 | The SOSQuitline for tobacco users was up only a couple of months at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) when a poetic letter arrived for one of the counselors.
The handwritten message was from a Quitline patient.
“I woke up this morning and said goodbye to my best friends. Yes, I cried! Feeling so scared to lose the friends I’ve had for 32 years.”
While the September letter speaks of the fear of giving up cigarettes, it concludes that, “I’ll smoke no more, forever!”
It takes courage to stare down a tobacco addiction. But as the author notes, sometimes it also takes the help of others — family, friends, God, and her SOSQuitline tobacco specialist, Camille.
UAMS, through its
· Face-to-face treatment through the Arkansas Tobacco Cessation Network sites at the
· Over the phone through the SOSQuitline, formerly operated by an affiliate of the Mayo Clinic in
The number of calls to the Quitline has surpassed the expectations of Christine Sheffer, Ph.D., who set up and leads tobacco cessation programs. Between July 5 and Sept. 30, 819 Arkansans called the Quitline and 679 scheduled treatment for their addiction. The Quitline is staffed by counselors with master’s degrees from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. The SOSQuitline toll-free number is (866) NOW-QUIT or (866) 669-7848.
UAMS and the
The SOSWorks program referred 238 patients between July 1 and Sept. 30 this year.
“People learn to look at their environment and their daily life, recognize the triggers that stimulate tobacco use and how to manage them,” said Sheffer, assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education in the
During treatment, people also learn about medications to help reduce cravings. All cessation programs at the
“When people really understand their medications and how to use them, they’re more likely to have success,” Sheffer said. “We know that quitting tobacco isn’t easy. It takes practice. And sometimes it takes intensive treatment and customized treatment plans for different people.”
These programs are funded through a contract from the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services using funds from the state tobacco settlement.