Quitlines are increasingly becoming a core smoking cessation resource. This paper canvasses the potential of quitlines and briefly reviews the evidence for their utility. Quitlines can be an effective means of helping smokers quit. They can provide a triage service helping to direct smokers to the most appropriate assistance, and they can provide cessation help, either one-off sessions or systematic programmes of call-back counselling. Quitlines have features that uniquely place them to provide effective, accessible and affordable cessation help to large numbers and they can be modified readily to meet the needs of groups with special needs, including the capacity to act as part of co-ordinated care with face-to-face services. Quitlines are likely to become an even more important part of tobacco control infrastructure over the next few years.