Free nicotine treatment expanded in Southwest Georgia

Published 3:06 pm Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is now offering free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) support to the 14 counties in the Albany Public Health District, including Decatur County.

The program is administered through the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line, and offers uninsured adult callers (ages 18 and older) nicotine patches or gum at no cost.

“Research indicates that most smokers make several attempts before they can successfully quit and resist the nicotine addiction,” said Kimberly Redding, DPH’s director of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Program. As noted in the 2010 Surgeon General’s report, “How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: What It Means to You,” quitting may take several tries before an individual succeeds.

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Regardless of insurance status, the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line provides free and confidential, professional counseling tailored to tobacco users ages 13 and older including pregnant Georgia women. Georgia adults who use tobacco are also encouraged to speak to their physician, pharmacist, nurse and other health care provider about safe and effective treatment options to assist with quitting tobacco.

For every person who dies from tobacco use, another 20 suffer with at least one serious tobacco-related illness. Tobacco use impacts Georgia’s children, families, communities, and the economy. In Georgia, one out of every six deaths or more than 10,300 adults die each year due to tobacco-related diseases. In addition, approximately $1.8 billion in health care costs among adults aged 18 years and older is attributed to tobacco use.

In an effort to improve the health status among Georgia families, free tobacco cessation medication support is being offered in regions where adult smoking prevalence and severe health effects are high.

Quitting tobacco use lowers the risk for lung cancer and other types of cancer. In addition, it reduces the risk for developing severe respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), one of the leading causes of death nationwide.

Among current adult smokers in the United States, approximately 70 percent report that they want to quit completely, and millions have attempted to quit smoking.

To find out which Public Health District your county is located in, please visit

For more information about NRT medications, contact the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line at 1-877-270-STOP (7867).