Use and effectiveness of tobacco telephone counseling and nicotine therapy in Maine

Am J Prev Med. 2005 Nov;29(4):288-94. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2005.06.015.


Background: Since 2001, the Maine Bureau of Health has offered free evidence-based treatment for tobacco dependence, including telephonic counseling and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). This study examined the utilization of treatment services, evaluated quit outcomes, and estimated the population impact of treatment.

Methods: This is a descriptive study of tobacco users receiving treatment services from the Maine Tobacco HelpLine from January 2003 to December 2004. Demographics of callers were compared to adult smokers statewide, and NRT utilization was examined among callers eligible for therapy. Quit outcomes were assessed by telephone interview among a sample of callers registered November 15, 2003 to January 31, 2004 (n=535), 6 months after assistance. The population impact of treatment was estimated by applying intent-to-treat (30-day point prevalence) quit rates to services delivered in 2003 and 2004. Analyses were conducted in 2005.

Results: A total of 12,479 adult smokers (3% of smokers annually) utilized Maine's tobacco services during 2003 and 2004. Compared to smokers statewide, callers were more likely to be aged 45 to 64, female, or uninsured. A total of 82.3% of callers who were eligible for NRT and received counseling obtained free NRT. Intent-to-treat quit rates at 6 months were 12.3% (95% confidence interval [CI]=8.1-17.6) for counseling, and 22.5% (95% CI=19.1-26.3) for counseling plus NRT. An estimated 1864 smokers calling in 2003-2004 had successfully quit.

Conclusions: The Maine Tobacco HelpLine and NRT programs have demonstrated effectiveness and population outreach, particularly to uninsured smokers. This study suggests that for quit lines to maximize their impact, tobacco medication access may be important.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Directive Counseling / methods
  • Directive Counseling / standards
  • Directive Counseling / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hotlines / standards
  • Hotlines / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Maine
  • Male
  • Medically Uninsured
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicotine / therapeutic use*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Program Evaluation
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Telephone
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Nicotine