On July 1, 2013, a new law took effect, and Minnesota’s per-pack tax on cigarettes went up by $1.60. This price increase will help prevent more youth from ever starting to smoke and prevent premature deaths from smoking-related diseases. The price increase will also help more current Minnesota smokers quit. We want to support all Minnesota tobacco users with additional motivation to quit and educate them on the free support that is available through QUITPLAN Services.

All Minnesotans have access to free cessation services – either through their own health insurance’s phone counseling program or through QUITPLAN Services for Minnesotans who are underinsured or uninsured. Launched in 2001, QUITPLAN Services has helped more than 20,000 Minnesotans successfully quit tobacco. QUITPLAN Services provides phone coaching (1-888-354-PLAN) and free nicotine patches, gum or lozenges to eligible callers. Smokers can also access free help online at www.quitplan.com to receive access to a web coach, tools, advice and access to an online community of support.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently concluded their latest nationwide ad campaign, Tips From Former Smokers, aimed at showing the negative consequences of smoking. A part of the campaign included the “Talk with your doctor” initiative, which encouraged smokers and physicians to engage in dialogue about quitting and resources for support. Visit CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers to find the resources on talking with your patients about quitting smoking.

With the price of cigarettes likely to rise above an average of $7.50 per pack, many smokers may think about quitting for good. Unfortunately, quitting “cold turkey” rarely works and most smokers need a plan and support to quit successfully. Please help us reduce the harm that tobacco causes Minnesota by motivating smokers to quit and providing them with the available resources for support. If you would like further information about QUITPLAN Services or to request brochures for your office, please visit www.clearwaymn.org.

ClearWay Minnesota funds the QUITPLAN Helpline, which provides telephone counseling services to Minnesotans who are uninsured or underinsured, including fee-for-service Minnesota Health Care Programs (MHCP) members. Callers are screened for insurance status. The Helpline works collaboratively with six health plans to transfer health plan members to the quitlines operated by their health plans. ClearWay Minnesota contracts with National Jewish Health to provide QUITPLAN Helpline services.

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