A New Way to Help Marylanders Quit Tobacco

— The Maryland Department of Health’s (MDH) Center for Tobacco Prevention and Control (CTPC) has partnered with Johns Hopkins Health System (JHHS) to simplify the process for Marylanders to get help quitting tobacco. JHHS is now electronically referring patients who express a desire to quit tobacco directly to MDH’s Maryland Tobacco Quitline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

The Quitline’s highly trained ‘Quit Coaches” provide free, evidence-based counseling services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Tobacco users 13 years and older are eligible for services and those 18 years and older can receive phone and Web-based services; text message support; and free nicotine replacement patches, gum, and lozenges, while supplies last.

“For patients who would like assistance with quitting tobacco products, this new referral system allows Johns Hopkins Health System providers to easily, seamlessly, and confidentially send patient contact information to the Maryland Tobacco Quitline,” said Maryland Department of Health Secretary Robert R. Neall. “Upon receiving the patient information, a ‘Quit Coach’ will proactively reach out to the Maryland resident to discuss a variety of free services, funded by the Maryland Department of Health, to help them on their journey to quit smoking.”

With continuum of care the goal, Quit Coaches follow up with referring providers to discuss recommended service plans by which the provider can then follow up with their patients. Another added benefit of electronic referrals is that providers can easily incorporate tobacco cessation into their regular clinical workflow, reinforcing patient interventions, by making a connection to an effective cessation intervention to assist with quit attempts. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, when a quit attempt is provider advised, the abstinence rate goes up, and when using Quitline services combined with medications, the abstinence rate doubles.

The Quitline partnership began with a small pilot project in 2016, leading to a larger rollout with Medicaid patients in 2017, and successful system-wide implementation earlier this year.

The Quitline has already received nearly 1,700 electronic referrals from JHHS providers, with approximately 400 patients enrolling in services— marking this project a monumental success for Marylanders. JHHS continues to strengthen this partnership—and increase patient access— through additional training of their providers working in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

If you are a Maryland resident and want to learn more about the free services offered through the Maryland Tobacco Quitline, call 1-800-784-8669 (1-800-QUIT-NOW), visit: www.smokingstopshere.com, or ask your JHHS provider for an electronic referral.