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% of adult smokers who attempted to quit smoking in the past year

57%2018

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Story Behind the Curve

Vermont Tobacco Control Program, updated February 2020

57% of Vermont adult smokers made an attempt to quit smoking in the last year. This is the same as among U.S. adults. There were no statistically significant differences in quit attempts based on gender, age, education level, annual household income, disability status or race. The proportion of smokers making a quit attempt has remained statistically similar since 2011. Every year the Tobacco Control Program publishes a Cessation Report which offers more details on the services provided and their utilization. The program has a specific Medicaid Tobacco Initiative to focus efforts and offer comprehensive services to reduce the higher smoking rates of Medicaid-insured members, which has resulted in increased quit ratio and decreased prevalence.

In the past decade, the percent of adult smokers who attempted to quit smoking has fluctuated from a low of 48% in 2003 to a high of 62% in 2010 and 2012. In 2017 BRFSS, 59% of adult smokers reported an attempt to quit smoking in the previous year. A quit attempt is defined as quitting smoking for at least 24 hours. The Tobacco Control Program has set its target as 80% and uses media, partnership engagement, and training with providers to help meet this goal.

The Tobacco Control Program is actively engaged in multiple strategies to increase quit attempts among adult smokers. The VTCP partners with the Vermont Medicaid program to conduct outreach among low-income smokers and providers. Raising awareness of the tobacco benefit available to them is key. In 2017 - 2019 the program conducted research with providers each year to understand better what clinicians and care teams need to perform screening, provide tobacco treatment and refer to 802Quits. Using these findings over the past two years the program has improved the navigability and content of its 802Quits website.   

In addition, the Program engages in two to three mass-reach media campaigns every year to reach Vermonters through TV, bus and digital ads. The VTCP launches these cessation media flights with 30-sec spots that include the emotional and effective CDC TIPS ads from Former Smokers and ads that the program tailors to the "perceived effectiveness" as rated by Vermonters who use tobacco. An ad, Meet Ana, for example, shares Ana's story of dealing with anxiety and bipolar disorder and being able to quit through 802Quits and its free resources.

Partners

National Jewish Health: The program's contractor which provides the Quitline and Quit Online in English, Spanish and other languages per translation services, an incentive-based pregnancy protocol, and text messaging support.

Department Vermont Health Access: The Vermont Medicaid office collaborates with the program on expanding and promoting tobacco treatment benefit which includes in-clinic counseling, referral to 802Quits, and approved nicotine replacement therapies that when combined with counseling doubles the likelihood of a successful quit.

Blueprint for Health : A network of regional coordinators and tobacco treatment specialist, a collaboration between Blueprint for Health and the Tobacco Control Program. This network of Quit Partners serve communities across the state. Quit Partners provide group classes in clinical and community settings, and can be contacted to arrange onsite services.



What Works

Several factors affect quit attempts in adults. Mass-reach media is an evidence-based strategy to promote cessation among adults. Hard-hitting ads, such as the Tips from Former Smokers campaign, have proven effective in motivating quit attempts. Evidence demonstrates that smoke-free policies, such as Clean Indoor Air laws and outdoor smoking bans, reduce smoking prevalence by encouraging cessation in adults.

Cessation counseling in combination with approved cessation medications more than doubles a person’s chances of quitting successfully. The Affordable Care Act requires that cessation counselling and medications be covered by insurance, including Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) such as patches, gum, and lozenges, and medications approved for cessation such as Chantix. VT Medicaid also covers cessation counseling for all beneficiaries and provides all FDA approved nicotine replacement therapies (NRT), which are proven medications that reduce craving.

The VTCP offers free cessation support and Nicotine Replacement Therapy (including nicotine patches and gum) through its 802Quits services. Coaching and free text messages to support you is available 24/7 over the phone by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW. There are also Quit Partners available throughout Vermont communities, often through a local hospital, who hold group classes offering peer support and stress reduction techniques. Counseling and chat room support is also available online at 802Quits.org, with resources, personal stories and tips from former smokers in Vermont.

Strategy

The Tobacco Control Program is:

  • Building on a partnership with DHVA to promote providers treating tobacco dependence and referring to 802Quits cessation resources offered for free to Medicaid beneficiaries.
  • Promoting tobacco quit services available through 802Quits services by using CDC Tips from Formers Smokers ads, locally produced advertisements, digital media, social media engagement, and mailings.
  • Providing training and information to providers on helping patients quit smoking, including provider mailings and the resources available through 802Quits, webinars, and engagement with medical associations.
  • Partner with community coalitions and community-based organizations working with groups with disparate burden, including low-income smokers, LGBTQ community, ethnic and racial minorities, veterans, pregnant women, and those with mental health and substance use disorders, to provide tailored resources and support to increase quit attempts in these populations.

Similar to statewide efforts, local partners are using data to drive local strategy. For regional data on Tobacco indicators, check out our Public Health Data Explorer.

Why Is This Important?

Many smokers attempting to quit need to make several attempts before successfully sustaining cessation.The rate of quit attempts is a strong indicator of motivation to quit and is a predictor of the rate of sustained cessation1.Increasing the percent of adults who attempt to quit smoking is essential to decreasing the adult smoking prevalence and improving health outcomes associated with quitting smoking (i.e. reduced risk of heart disease, lung cancer, COPD, and other diseases).

Tobacco use is the #1 preventable cause of death. In Vermont, smoking costs approximately $348 million in medical expenses and results in an estimated 1,000 smoking-related deaths each year. 10,000 kids now under 18 and alive in Vermont will ultimately die prematurely from smoking. Countless other lives, including those of friends and family members, are impacted by the negative effects of tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure. Reducing tobacco use and the chronic disease and mortality it causes is one of CDC's Winnable Battles.

Reducing tobacco use is part of Healthy Vermonters 2020 (the State Health Assessment) that documents the health status of Vermonters at the start of the decade and the population health indicators and goals that will guide the work of public health through 2020. Click here for more information. This indicator is also part of the State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP), a five-year plan that prioritizes broad Healthy Vermonters 2020 goals: reducing prevalence of chronic disease, reducing prevalence of substance abuse and mental illness, and improving childhood immunizations. The SHIP is a subset of HV2020 and details strategies and planned interventions. Click here for more information.

Act 186 was passed by the Vermont Legislature in 2014 to quantify how well State government is working to achieve the population-level outcomes the Legislature sets for Vermont’s quality of life. It will assist the Legislature in determining how best to invest taxpayer dollars. The Vermont Department of Health and the Agency of Human Services report this information annually. Click here for more information.

Notes on Methodology

Data is updated as it becomes available and timing may vary by data source. For more information about this indicator, click here.

This indicator is age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. standard population. In U.S. data, age adjustment is used for comparison of regions with varying age breakdowns. In order to remain consistent with the methods of comparison at a national level, some statistics in Vermont were age adjusted. In cases where age adjustment was noted as being part of the statistical analysis, the estimates were adjusted based on the proportional age breakdowns of the U.S. population in 2000. For more detailed information on age adjustment visit /www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/statnt/statnt20.pdf.

Due to BRFSS weighting methodology changes beginning in 2011, comparisons between data collected in 2011 and later and that from 2010 and earlier should be made with caution. Differences between data from 2011 forward and earlier years may be due to methodological changes, rather than changes in opinion or behavior.

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