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Free quitline services end; tobacco users should seek alternatives

The Washington State Department of Health's free Tobacco Quitline services have ended due to state budget cuts.

That means no more quitline coverage for the uninsured in Washington state. The quitline has helped more than 160,000 Washington state residents since it opened in 2001.

Starting in July, calls to the quitline number, 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), will be answered by the American Cancer Society Quit for Life program (www.quitnow.net), which will help people covered by their employer, by commercial insurance or by Medicaid. Tobacco users should check with their employer to see if tobacco cessation coverage is a health benefit. Many employers in Washington cover the cost.

Even with lower smoking rates, tobacco-related diseases kill about 7,900 people every year in Washington state, and tobacco is a major cause of rising health care costs.

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