Evidence-based program from NYS Smokers' Quitline provides daily messages, weekly goals
Guest Editorial by the New York State Smokers’ Quitline
Help in today's technological world can start with a simple text. For those looking to quit use of commercial tobacco or vape products, daily text reminders can provide focus amidst busy schedules. As New York State residents spend more time engaged in outdoor activities during this warm season, the New York State Smokers' Quitline (Quitline) free Learn2QuitNY text program offers ideal support at their fingertips.
All New York State residents can enroll in Learn2QuitNY by texting the word QUITNOW to 333888. The program, designed through evidence-based research by experts at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, provides three texts daily for six weeks and includes weekly goals. Learn2QuitNY's automated and interactive messages are unique to New York State and help participants develop the skills required to achieve long-term abstinence from any tobacco product.
Quitlines throughout North America tend to be busiest in winter months, as many look to quit smoking or vaping during this time. A text messaging program such as Learn2QuitNY, however, can be ideal for quit-attempts during summer months. Consistent reminders will deliver directly to participants, even as they travel. Increased outdoor activity during the summer necessitates optimal breathing, which greatly improves upon quitting smoking or vaping.
After a little more than a year of existence since March 2022, Learn2QuitNY shows promise in both reaching younger populations as well as effectiveness. Nearly two-thirds of all participants indicate an age range between 18 and 44. Furthermore, as part of a pilot study and presented as a research poster at the 2023 Annual Meeting for the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco in San Antonio, Learn2QuitNY's creators found 92% of all participants stayed with the program for the entire six weeks. In addition, 79% of those reachable for follow-up indicated they had reduced cigarette intake or stopped altogether because of participating in Learn2QuitNY.
Learn2QuitNY is the latest in many options the Quitline provides for those seeking to overcome use of commercial tobacco or vape products. In fact, periodic messages during the six-week program prompt participants to access additional Quitline services via phone at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) or by visiting nysmokefree.com, such as individualized coaching and access to free stop-smoking medications. The Quitline's website additionally offers an online chat and an ordering system for stop-smoking medications. All Quitline services are free and New York State residents may use Learn2QuitNY on its own or combined with any additional resources.
"Everyone quits differently, and having options increases the chances for sustained success," said Dr. Andrew Hyland, director of the Quitline and chair of the health behavior department at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. "The Quitline team continues to adapt its offerings so we can meet people where they're at. We encourage all who struggle with addiction to commercial tobacco or vape products to use as many tools as possible to achieve freedom and better health."
Summer can be the perfect time of year to quit smoking or vaping, especially with a free tool like the Quitline's Learn2QuitNY text program. To learn more, visit nysmokefree.com/text.
About the New York State Smokers' Quitline
The New York State Smokers' Quitline is a service of the New York State Department of Health and based at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Quitline encourages commercial tobacco and vape product users to talk with their health care professionals and access available Medicaid or health insurance benefits for medication support. All New York residents can call 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) or text QUITNOW to 333888 for coaching and resources, free of charge, seven days a week beginning at 9 a.m. Visit www.nysmokefree.com for more.
About Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
From the world's first chemotherapy research to the PSA prostate cancer biomarker, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center generates innovations that shape how cancer is detected, treated and prevented worldwide. Driven to eliminate cancer's grip on humanity, the Roswell Park team of 4,000 makes compassionate, patient-centered cancer care and services accessible across New York and beyond. Founded in 1898, Roswell Park was among the first three cancer centers nationwide to become a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and is the only one to hold this designation in upstate New York. To learn more, visit www.roswellpark.org, call 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or email [email protected].