Health Dept. to Help E-Cigarette Users Kick the Habit

Free coaching and nicotine replacement therapy available

Tom Puckett
October 21, 2019 - 2:20 pm
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Buffalo, NY (WBEN) The state health department is launching new services for e-cigarette users seeking help to stop vaping, including free quit-coaching and nicotine replacement therapy through the New York State Smokers’ Quitline. The Department added the service to the Quitline to address the growing need to help users of e-cigarettes break their dependence on vaping. In addition, the Department announced the release of a Request for Applications to award $16 million for the next five-year round to support healthcare systems in their efforts to help smokers and vapers quit through proven cessation methods, as well as the launch of a new statewide ad campaign to educate teens and their parents about the dangers of vaping.

To address the recent national vaping illness epidemic, the Department collaborated with Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, which administers the Quitline, to develop eligibility criteria and evidenced-based practices for the Quitline to assist e-cigarette users and provide Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) treatment. NRT, particularly combination therapy with a patch and gum or lozenge, typically doubles the odds for successful quitting with cigarette users.

Those interested should contact the Quitline by calling 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) any day of the week beginning at 9:00 a.m. A specially trained Quit Coach will assess users of e-cigarettes for type of product, frequency of inhalation and dependence. Based on the assessment, a user may be eligible to receive complimentary patches, gum, lozenges or a combination of these products. Quit Coaches also will help users develop a personalized quit-plan and guide them to consult their healthcare professionals and health insurance plans for additional stop-smoking medication and support. The Quitline is available for New Yorkers of all ages, including adolescents.

Similar to the eligibility guidelines for cigarette users, users of e-cigarettes who qualify for the Quitline’s free NRT will receive a starter kit with a minimum two-week supply and can receive up to two kits per year – the second after 90 days from the first shipment. More information about eligibility is available online at www.nysmokefree.com.

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “The ongoing outbreak of vaping-associated pulmonary illnesses plaguing New Yorkers and people across the country is a stark reminder of the addictive nature and potential dangers of e-cigarettes. We are proud to expand our existing services to further assist people struggling with nicotine addiction in all forms to quit once and for all.”

Andrew Hyland, PhD, Director of the Quitline and Chair of Health Behavior at Roswell Park, said, “Traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes have one unfortunate thing in common: the nicotine makes the products incredibly difficult to quit. Thanks to the Department of Health, we are pleased to be able to expand our services to help more New Yorkers.”

In addition, the Department of Health is releasing a Request for Applications (RFA) to award $16,375,000 for the next five-year round to improve the delivery of healthcare services to help smokers and vapers quit through proven cessation methods. Organizations funded through this initiative will work with health systems throughout the state to ensure they have effective protocols and systems in place to help people addicted to nicotine quit. The organizations will address tobacco use disparities among people with low educational attainment, low income and poor mental health by supporting health systems efforts to change.

Recognizing the problem of addiction to nicotine from all forms of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, this funding opportunity includes work focused on addressing emerging nicotine delivery products. Grantees will become well-versed in the emerging science of e-cigarette concerns and how health systems should respond, including implementation of new protocols for providing treatment with counseling and FDA-approved cessation medications.

With an anticipated start date of July 1, 2020, a total of $16,375,000 over a five-year period will be awarded to support contracts in nine regions across New York State and one statewide Center for Health Systems Improvement. The program will help reduce disparities in tobacco use by providing resources and technical assistance to medical and mental health care organizations that primarily serve populations disproportionately affected by tobacco use. In NYS, such populations include those with the lowest incomes, the least education and those struggling with mental illness and substance use disorders. Funded organizations will provide critical resources to health care organizations that are needed to adopt and implement comprehensive policies and system changes.

Information about the funding announcement is available on the New York State Department of Health website at: https://www.health.ny.gov/funding/.

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