Although quitlines, hotlines that provide free services to help people quit smoking, are reaching minority populations, overall reach remains low and varies depending on race and ethnicity among U.S. tobacco users, according to results published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.
“No studies have provided multistate data about quitline reach across race/ethnic groups,” LaTisha L. Marshall, DrPH, MPH, from the office on smoking and health at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and colleagues wrote. “Quitlines are available for free to tobacco users in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam; however, [they] presently reach only 1% of U.S. cigarette smokers.”
The investigators sought to address this gap in quitline research by analyzing a database of over 1.2 million quitline callers across 45 states to determine reach of service from 2011 to 2013. They defined annual quitline reach as the proportion of adult cigarette smokers or smokeless tobacco users who utilized services during each year, then divided the number of state-specific quitline registrants each year by the number of smokers or smokeless tobacco users in the state.
Marshall and associates found average annual reach was highest among non-Hispanic American Indians and Alaska Natives in 27 states, non-Hispanic blacks in 14 states, and non-Hispanic whites in four states. Average quitline reach ranged from 0.27% (Nevada) to 9.98% (Delaware) among non-Hispanic American Indians and Alaska Natives; 0.17 (Tennessee) to 3.85% (Delaware) among non-Hispanic blacks; and 0.08% (Tennessee) to 3.42% (Hawaii) among non-Hispanic whites.
“Ongoing monitoring of the use of state quitlines can help and guide outreach to all race/ethnic groups with the goal of increasing the overall proportion and number of tobacco users that use quitlines,” Marshall and researchers concluded. “These efforts could be complemented by comprehensive tobacco control initiatives that increase cessation, including mass media campaigns, smoke-free policies, increased tobaccos prices, expansion of health insurance coverage, and health systems change.” – by Savannah Demko
Disclosure: The researchers report funding for this work from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.