HEALTH

Maine launches new tobacco-quitting campaign

Posted April 18, 2011, at 10:01 p.m.

The Partnership For A Tobacco-Free Maine, in collaboration with Healthy Waldo County, local Healthy Maine Partnership, has launched new resources to help people quit tobacco. The QuitLink is an online community dedicated to supporting those who are attempting to quit, have recently quit or are helping someone go through the process of quitting.

“We know that 70 percent of smokers have expressed the desire to quit smoking. In Maine, that means more than 100,000 people would like to quit. Some may have already attempted and failed, and others may not even know where to begin,” said Vyvyenne Ritchie, program administrator. “The purpose of the QuitLink is to provide people with a place to turn, a support network that is designed to improve quitting success.”

In 2008, 18 percent of adults in Maine reported being current smokers. New research has indicated that quitting smoking, as with other health concerns, is directly linked to the social networks that an individual is a part of. The desire to quit using tobacco and the success at which that is accomplished happens in groups, whether it is family, friends, co-workers or online

communities. By creating a virtual support network, the QuitLink seeks to take advantage of this principle and the relationships of the tobacco user.

The new Quit Link media campaign showcases television and radio messages that depict real-life tobacco users. The QuitLink television message features Dickie Aubie of Windham and Kevin Jarvais of Skowhegan, and their “network” of supporters.

The QuitLink website provides links to local resources, extensive information about the Maine Tobacco HelpLine and other tools to ensure quitting success. The website also serves as a gateway to the social networking components Twitter and Facebook.

The QuitLink Facebook page is the online community feature and provides the ability to share stories and receive feedback from other community members. The Twitter page will be updated with daily positive reinforcement, messages, and encouragement. Both social networking sites

will direct followers to the HelpLine and to the QuitLink website.

Ritchie said, “The advantage of the QuitLink is that once those wishing to quit have succeeded, they will then become ambassadors for the campaign and the resources affiliated with it, helping us reach current smokers through the power of the social network.”

For more information, email vritchie@wchi.com or call 930-6761.

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