Use of Tobacco Quitline Far Exceeds Expectations

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – The tobacco Quitline, a treatment program offered at no cost to the public by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Public Health, has enjoyed tremendous success in its first year with monthly calls rising from 169 calls in July 2005 to nearly 500 in June.


The SOSQuitline, with master’s level tobacco specialists manning the phones under the guidance of Christine Sheffer, Ph.D., saw its monthly call volume top out at 864 in March. Sheffer said original estimates were for about 200 calls per month.


“The Quitline and the other tobacco cessation programs at the College of Public Health are a valuable resource for Arkansans trying to quit tobacco, so we couldn’t be more pleased to see such a dramatic increase in calls,” Sheffer said.


She said calls to the Quitline should continue to rise as a result of the statewide workplace smoking ban that went into effect July 21.


The Quitline is staffed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. The toll-free number is (866) NOW-QUIT or (866) 669-7848.


Help is also available at no cost to Arkansas tobacco users who wish to meet face to face with a UAMS tobacco specialist. The Arkansas Tobacco Cessation Network is staffed by UAMS tobacco specialists located across the state for in-person tobacco counseling. 


UAMS and the College of Public Health also have made it easy for health care providers to link their patients to the tobacco cessation services. Doctors, dentists, nurses, and other health care providers can quickly and easily fax patient information using the SOSWorks fax-back referral forms. In this program, a tobacco specialist receives a faxed form from a health care provider and calls the patients at home to discuss cessation options.


During sessions with the tobacco specialists, tobacco users receive evidence-based treatment for tobacco dependence and learn about medications to help reduce cravings. All cessation programs at the College of Public Health refer patients to their health care providers for a medication evaluation.


The UAMS College of Public Health also has a Smoke-free Workplace Assistance Program and a Healthcare Provider Education Program. All of these programs are funded through a contract from the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services using funds from the state tobacco settlement. For more information about these programs visit the Web site at .


UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has about 2,320 students and 690 medical residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 9,300 employees, including nearly 1,000 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the VA Medical Center. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $4.5 billion a year. For more information, visit