Where's the Spending Quitline?


Today's New York Times:

Four former surgeons general offered a plan on Tuesday to cut cigarette smoking in part with a $2-a-pack tax increase. That move alone, they said, would prompt at least five million smokers to quit.

They also called for a nationwide counseling and support line for smokers trying to quit, an idea that was immediately accepted by Tommy G. Thompson, the secretary of health and human services.

Mr. Thompson said more than $25 million would be dedicated for a toll-free national "quitline" to be established by year's end. States would also receive more financing to supplement or create their own quitline services.

A national quitline? Can it really be that after decades of government anti-smoking programs, warnings, ad campaigns, regulations, studies, taxes, and a $200 plus billion settlement with the tobacco industry, smokers who want to quit still don't have access to something as basic as a toll-free quitline?

I don't know much about this topic (Jacob, please set me straight), but if Tommy did a very quick Google search before "immediately accepting" a proposal to blow $25 million, he would have found plenty of toll-free quitline services, like:

National Cancer Institute—1-877-44U-QUIT
American Cancer Society—1-877-YES-QUIT
American Lung Association—1-800-LUNG-USA (ask for the call center)

And here's a map with more numbers to call in each state.