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Quitline Iowa

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Adult Nurse Practitioner Lisa Nelson, ARNP, Recommends Quitline Iowa

With the New Year upon us, Iowans who decide they want to quit smoking have an excellent resource with a free service called Quitline Iowa, provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Mahaska Health Partnership Nurse Practitioner Lisa Nelson, ARNP, said adults who join the free program will receive the information and assistance they need to create an easy-to-follow Quitting Plan that will show them how to get ready, take action and then live the rest of their life as a non-smoker.

“I always tell my patients that it’s never too late to quit smoking,” Nelson said. “The health benefits begin the first day you quit. Smoking cessation is hard work, so having this free resource available can help make the journey successful.”

Referrals to Quitline Iowa are higher than they have ever been. In recent months, there has been a 68.4 percent increase in recommendations over the same time period last year.

“Physicians, nurse practitioners, dentists, and nurses are in a unique position to help patients who are ready to quit tobacco use,” said Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director, Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks. “I am happy to see so many healthcare providers opening up this dialog with their patients and offering assistance through 1-800-QUIT-NOW.”

According IDPH, 3,062 referrals were faxed to Quitline Iowa from July to November in 2011, compared with 1,818 during the same 5-month period last year. When a fax referral arrives, Quitline Iowa staff follow up with the patient to ask whether they are ready to take advantage of free services, which include counseling and text messaging options.

Nelson said that eligible participants will receive free quitting aids. Counselors will help them decide what type, dose and duration of nicotine substitute or other medication is right for them and teach them how to use it so it really works. They also receive a Quit Guide, which is an easy-to-use workbook that can be referenced in any situation to help people stick to their quitting plan.

“By joining the program, participants will also have expert support and assistance whenever they need it, over the phone, from Coaches who specialize in helping people quit smoking,” Nelson said. “Having a ‘Quit Coach’ can more than double a person’s chances of successfully quitting tobacco use.”

Nelson encourages people to talk to their healthcare provider to receive a referral to Quitline Iowa. For more information, call 1-800-784-8669 (1-800-QUIT-NOW) or visit To learn how Mahaska Health Partnership is making healthcare personal, visit our website at