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DHEC offering free resources to quit smoking

A tobacco tax increase backed by the tobacco industry will appear on the November ballot. Photo: MGN Online

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control celebrated the Great American smokeout by reminding people of the resources it offers for those looking to quit smoking. The American Cancer Society sets aside the third Thursday in November to encourage tobacco users to quit.

Medicaid users now have access to all FDA-approved quitting medications. That includes, gum, patch, and prescription medications. They also have access to behavioral counseling without prior authorization or copay.

Free support is also offered to all South Carolinians via the South Carolina Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW). The Quitline provides one-on-one telephone-based behavioral counseling from a trained coach, access to nicotine replacement therapies for those eligible, and can help establish a quit plan and date. The Quitline is absolutely free and offers service 24/7.

Sharon Biggers, director of tobacco prevention and control at DHEC says, "For more than 10 years, the South Carolina Tobacco Quitline has provided free help to more than 100,000 people. To keep up that momentum, we expanded services, extended hours, and worked with DHHS to ensure that Medicaid members have more choices when it comes to quitting."

South Carolina sees 7,200 tobacco-related deaths each year.

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