Bright Spot: Quitline

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

This bright spot was originally published in the 100 Million Healthier Lives Change Library and is brought to you through partnership with 100 Million Healthier Lives and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.


Detailed Description

State Quitlines are telephone helplines offering free cessation services to tobacco users who want to quit smoking. QuitlineNC provides free cessation services to any North Carolina resident who needs help quitting tobacco use. Quit Coaching is available in different forms, which can be used separately or together to help any tobacco user give up tobacco. Quitline counseling is widely accessible, convenient to use, and generally provided at no cost to users. Content may be adapted for specific populations, and tailored for individual clients.

Counseling may be: Reactive (tobacco user or recent quitter initiates contacts) or proactive (tobacco user or cessation specialist makes initial contact, and the cessation specialist schedules follow-up calls). Quitlines may provide additional interventions such as mailed self-help materials, integrated web-based and text-messaging support, and evidence-based, FDA-approved medications for tobacco cessation (Fiore et al., 2008). If you are considering this intervention, you may also want to consider "Clinical Integration of Fax Referrals to Quitlines"

Expected Outcomes

Users of the Quitline will quit smoking or reduce the amount they smoke

Cost Details

As of May 2014, Quitline is offered at no cost but printing costs for mass-media outreach vary. For the latest cost details, please contact Quitline directly.

Key Steps for Implementation

  1. Prepare a local campaign to advertise services of the Quitline: similar interventions used cessation-themed messages that included the quitline number and disseminated them through multiple channels including television, radio, newspapers, and cigarette pack health warning labels.
  2. Execute campaign to raise awareness about Quitline services and get community members to call the 24/7 and toll free helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW(1-800-784-8669) or log on to the Quitline website.
  3. Spread and sustain by involving local health organizations and health care providers to send referrals and further promote the use of Quitline. Minimal challenges in community outreach Obstacles to Quitline use may include clients' lack of awareness about the services available, uncertainties about service costs, concerns about confidentiality, and barriers related to language and cultural issues. Quitlines must be promoted to ensure their reach and impact.

Return on Investment Details

The economic evidence indicates that quitline services are cost-effective across a range of different treatments and promotional approaches. Based on a 13-study economic review:

  • Cost-effectiveness of providing quitline counseling and cessation information: median estimate of $2,012 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) saved (range of values: $439/QALY to $2,627/QALY; 6 studies)
  • Cost-effectiveness of adding cessation medications to existing quitline services: median estimate $795 per QALY saved (range of values: $272/QALY to $4,110/QALY; 6 studies)
  • Cost-effectiveness of providing a combination of quitline counseling, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), and media promotion: $7,813 per QALY saved (1 study)

Outcome Measures

Percentage of Quitline users who quit smoking (quit rates will vary depending on which measure is used to define a successful quit, i.e.12-month continuous abstinence, 6 months after their initial call, etc.)

Process Measures

  • Number of Quitline users from the community
  • Number of referrals from health providers

 Related Topics

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Tobacco Use