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New tobacco cessation program now offered

The Department of Social and Health Serivces (DSHS) Tobacco Prevention and Control Program is pleased to announce that state employees, retirees and their dependents are now eligible for a new tobacco cessation program that offers free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and free telephonic counseling.

These services are being made available through a partnership of the DSHS Tobacco Prevention Program, the Statewide Wellness Coordinator and the Employee Retirement System of Texas (ERS) utilizing American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars.

Employees simply call the Quitline at 1-877-YES-QUIT for access to over-the-phone counseling as well as up to eight weeks of NRT (such as the patch, gum or lozenges). The free NRT will be available through December 2011. The Quitline counseling services will continue to be available past this date.

Currently an estimated 45,000 state employees use tobacco products, and nearly seven of every 10 of these employees want to quit. Quitline users will double their chance of quitting by utilizing the free counseling and NRT.

According to the American Cancer Society, within 12 hours of quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. Within nine months of quitting, shortness of breath and coughing decrease, and the lungs have repaired their ability to function.

After just one year of not smoking, the risk of coronary heart disease decreases by half, compared to a smoker's risk according to a study in 2006 by the Center for Health Research at Keiser Permanente. Additionally, a smoker who quits will personally save at least $2,100 per year!

This program offers a unique opportunity for state employees, retirees and their beneficiaries take advantage of expanded tobacco cessation services.

Make the call today • 1-877-YES-QUIT.

Yes! I'm Ready to Quit!